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!
Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society
Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
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09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
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