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 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 >>>