Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Study Finds Saving Lonely Species Is Important for the Environment


Endemic species are often endangered, and a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, study finds that saving them is more important to biodiversity than previously thought.

The lemur, Javan rhino and Santa Cruz kangaroo rat are all lonesome animals. As endemic species, they live in habitats restricted to a particular area due to climate change, urban development or other occurrences.

Endemic species are often endangered, and a University of Tennessee, Knoxville, study finds that saving them is more important to biodiversity than previously thought.

Joe Bailey, associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and his colleagues from the University of Tasmania in Australia looked at endemic eucalyptus found in Tasmania. They discovered that these rare species have developed unique characteristics to survive, and that these characteristics may also impact the survival of its neighbors in the ecosystem.

The findings are published in the academic journal PLOS One which can be found at

Using experimental forestry trials where plants were taken from the wild and replanted in a single location, the researchers investigated whether the evolution of endemic species was an important process that altered species interactions. The study is one of the first to compare the functions of endemic and nonendemics in an experimental setting.

The team discovered that these eucalypts have evolved traits that allow them to persist in harsh conditions where many other species can't. These traits include thick leaves that stay on the tree a long time. Much as we conserve money when times are tight, this growth strategy allows these plants to minimize the resources they invest in leaves. The leaves also lack nutrition and are hard to digest, making them unappealing to most herbivores. Variation in such characteristics can impact the entire ecosystem.

"Because endemic species' genes and traits are different relative to nonendemic species, the web of interactions those genes support is also different," said Bailey. "Therefore, the losses of those genes from ecosystems will likely ripple through and hurt the species interactions they create."

For example, the change in the eucalyptus leaves can negatively impact the specialist herbivores that adapted to the plants by negatively affecting their ability to find food and thus survive.

The study results contribute to a growing body of research that shows genes in plants can have direct and indirect effects on other species in the ecosystem. This has important implications for the conservation of biodiversity, as the loss of endemics as a group might also represent the loss of novel ecological interactions. These results are particularly important in the context of climate change.

"In the midst of a biodiversity crisis where species extinction rates are a hundred to a thousand times greater than the natural rate of extinction, understanding the biology of rare and endemic species is a priority rather than a pursuit of novelty," said Bailey, who added that endemic species act also as a repository for rare genes.

Preventing the extinction of such species should be a priority of the scientific community and the general public who enjoy nature, noted Bailey.

Contact Information
Whitney Heins
Science Writer
Phone: 865-974-5460

Whitney Heins | newswise
Further information:

Further reports about: Ecosystem Lonely Tasmania endemic endemic species extinction genes interactions leaves species traits

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

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: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Modular safety concept increases flexibility in plant conversion

22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>