Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Direct link established between tropical tree and insect diversity

20.07.2006
Higher tree species diversity leads directly to higher diversity of leaf-eating insects, researchers report in the July 13, 2006 early-online version of the journal Science.

Understanding the drivers of the high diversity in tropical forests has been a major question since Darwin and Wallace visited tropical forestsand even before, Smithsonian co-author Scott Miller writes, We found that higher tropical tree diversity explains why there are more leaf-eating insects in tropical than in temperate forests.

It may be obvious that forests with greater numbers of tree species should support a wider variety of leaf-eating insects than do less diverse forests, but no one had ever done the experiment to rule out the major alternative explanation: that insect species in the tropics eat the leaves of a smaller number of host trees (are more host specific), which would also result in more insect species in a given area. This study presents the best experimental evidence to date to account for the latitudinal gradient in herbivorous insect biodiversity.

The international effort involved a comparison of insectsTM eating habits in temperate sites in Central Europe and lowland tropical sites near Mandang, Papau New Guinea (PNG). The team of insect ecologists, taxonomists and field assistants led by Vojtech Novotny, from the University of South Bohemia, Czech Republic, includes co-authors from the SmithsonianTMs National Museum of Natural History (NMNH), National Zoological Park (NZP) and Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and the University of Minnesota in the U.S. and Comenius University in Slovakia.

The team compared 850 species of leaf-eating insects from 14 tree species in temperate floodplain forest sites in Moravia and from 14 tree species in lowland tropical sites in Papua New Guinea (PNG). They also compared caterpillars from 8 trees in Slovakia, and 8 trees in PNG. Tree species were chosen such that they would have the same evolutionary relationships at each site, making the comparisons equivalent and eliminating another confounding factor.

After collecting the insects, researchers ran feeding trials by presenting larval and adult insects with foliage. They gathered and analyzed a total of 26,970 feeding observations.

Based on this latitudinal comparison they concluded that individual temperate and tropical tree species support similar numbers of leaf-eating insects. Host specificity did not differ significantly between temperate and tropical communities therefore, the greater number of tree species in the tropics is the best explanation for higher insect diversity.

Only 2 million of the estimated 5-10 million insect species on this planet have been identified. Nearly nothing is known about the behavior or environmental impact of most insect species. The conclusion that tree diversity drives insect diversity is a great step forward in the understanding of life on earth.

Scott Miller | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.stri.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

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: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

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:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

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...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

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...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

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...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Robot on demand: Mobile machining of aircraft components with high precision

06.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

A new dead zone in the Indian Ocean could impact future marine nutrient balance

06.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

06.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>