Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Must ecologists account for time to understand biodiversity in space?

21.06.2006
Ecologists typically study biodiversity in "snapshots"--single-time surveys conducted in many locations--and try to understand why some habitats have more species than others, or why larger areas contain more species than smaller ones. But what are ecologists missing if they ignore the reality that communities are not snapshots but continually in flux?

By studying how plants in three hyper-diverse grasslands change annually over a decade, ecologists Jason Fridley (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), Robert Peet (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), Eddy van der Maarel (University of Groningen), and Jo Willems (Utrecht University) show how one crucial property of ecosystems--the species-area curve, describing the relation of area and number of species--cannot be fully understood unless annual changes in the species composition of local communities are taken into account.

Reporting in The American Naturalist, Fridley and colleagues demonstrate, for the first time, that "local" species-area curves (those confined to one community) and those of large regions can be linked if one considers that the species composition of small areas changes faster than that of larger areas.

"It is increasingly clear," says Fridley, "that plant communities are dynamic entities in which variation in space and time are inextricably linked."

Indeed, ecologists have argued for decades over why species-area curves measured locally do not seem to match predictions derived from larger areas. This study shows that smaller surveys are heavily constrained by the poor sample size of individuals in any given year. Over time, as individuals die and are replaced by others from the surrounding area, the sample size increases and the community begins to more resemble its region--but in a manner that strictly follows the region's species-area curve.

This novel connection of local and regional biodiversity patterns extends the generality of the species-area relationship to very small areas, and thus allows ecologists to explicitly link processes that drive biodiversity across scales.

Suzanne Wu | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uchicago.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht World Water Day 2017: It doesn’t Always Have to Be Drinking Water – Using Wastewater as a Resource
17.03.2017 | ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>