Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The New Wildlife Refuge: Golf Courses?

12.07.2007
MU researchers find that golf courses could be wildlife sanctuaries, but change is needed in pond management

Golf courses are known as centers for human recreation, but if managed properly, they also could be important wildlife sanctuaries, a University of Missouri-Columbia researcher has found.

"There are more than 17,000 golf courses in the United States, and approximately 70 percent of that land is not used for playing," said Ray Semlitsch, Curators' Professor of Biology in the MU College of Arts and Science. "These managed green spaces aren't surrogates for protected land and ecosystems, but they can include suitable habitat for species native to the area. Golf courses could act as nature sanctuaries if managed properly."

Semlitsch, along with Michelle Boone, an assistant professor at Miami University in Ohio and former MU graduate student, and J. Russell Bodie, senior scientist for Audubon International, outlined recommendations that would improve golf course habitats for amphibian populations in a paper published in USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Online in January. Their recommendations included buffering aquatic habitats from chemical runoff, surrounding wetland areas with 150 to 300 meters of forest or natural grassland, and creating a diversity of pond types that mimic natural wetlands.

A recent study by Semlitsch, Boone and Cory Mosby, a senior at MU, built on these suggestions. They found that completely drying golf course ponds in the late summer or early fall would benefit amphibian populations and biodiversity.

"It's a hard concept for people to understand, but non-permanent wetlands are more natural than permanent wetlands. Most natural wetlands dry for some periods of time, and the species that live in them are well-adapted for this. The natural drying process benefits amphibians, and it releases nutrients from the soil. Maintaining permanent ponds actually harms biodiversity," Semlitsch said.

In the study, the researchers used two types of ponds - control reference ponds and ponds located on golf courses - to monitor populations of American toads, southern leopard frogs and spotted salamanders. They found that the American toads, southern leopard frogs and spotted salamanders survived better in the golf course ponds than in the control ponds, probably because of a reduced number of insect predators. They also found that these species survived better in the absence of overwintered bullfrog tadpoles, which are common to permanent golf course ponds and act as unnatural predators and competitors.

Semlitsch said this shows that greater biodiversity can be achieved by eliminating bullfrog tadpoles. Because bullfrog cycles of metamorphosis take longer to complete (typically 12 months) than the cycles of other amphibians (typically one to four months), the bullfrog tadpoles have advantages in permanent ponds and can grow larger and more powerful, nudging out other species. By drying golf course ponds in the early fall, the tadpoles can be eliminated,

Semlitsch, Boone and Mosby's study will be published later this year in the journal Conservation Biology. It was supported by the United States Golf Association and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. For a copy of Semlitsch, Boone and Bodie's paper on ways to bolster amphibian communities on golf courses, see USGA Turfgrass and Environmental Research Online at http://usgatero.msu.edu/currentpastissues.htm.

Katherine Kostiuk | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.missouri.edu
http://usgatero.msu.edu/currentpastissues.htm

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Safeguarding sustainability through forest certification mapping
27.06.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
26.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>