Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Road may disrupt migration, ruin Serengeti, study finds

01.02.2011
Building a highway through Serengeti National Park may devastate one of the world's last large-scale herd migrations and the region's ecosystem, according to new research by an international team of ecologists, including a University of Guelph professor.

The study by John Fryxell, a Guelph integrative biology professor, and four other scientists from the United States and Canada appears in a recent issue of PLoS ONE, a peer-reviewed international journal published by the Public Library of Science.

The researchers studied the effects of a proposal by the Tanzanian government to build a road that would bisect the northern portion of Serengeti National Park.

The Serengeti is one of few remaining places where large-scale migrations still occur, with nearly two million wildebeest, antelope and zebras looping the plains from Tanzania to Kenya and back each year.

The researchers found that the road may cause a 35-per-cent reduction in wildebeest herds, plus direct and indirect effects on many other species and ecosystem processes.

The study did not consider other potential negative effects, such as car accidents, development or increased poaching, which would reduce herd numbers even further.

"This project has the potential to transform one of the greatest wonders in the world and one of the world's most iconic national parks," said Fryxell, who worked on the study with lead author Ricardo Holdo from the University of Missouri and professors from the University of British Columbia, Princeton University and the University of Florida.

The researchers used simulation models of wildebeest movement and population dynamics to predict the effects of the proposed highway, which could block the northern part of the migration route and access to water in the dry season.

Fryxell said that fragmenting the landscape disrupts movement patterns and the wildebeest's ability to track changes in forage resources across the landscape. The effect would be a one-third reduction in herd size.

"The wildebeest migration plays an important role in a number of key ecological processes, so this finding has important ramifications for ecosystem biodiversity, structure and function," Fryxell said.

Fryxell has studied migration for more than 30 years. Last fall, his research was featured in National Geographic's epic Great Migrations. The seven-part series took three years to produce and was filmed in 20 countries on all seven continents. Fryxell appeared in a segment on the science of migration that included his extensive footage shot in the Serengeti.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or lhunt@uoguelph.ca, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982 or dhealey@uoguelph.ca.

Professor John Fryxell | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uoguelph.ca

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Bioinvasion on the rise
15.02.2017 | Universität Konstanz

nachricht Litter Levels in the Depths of the Arctic are On the Rise
10.02.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

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: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>