Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study Finds Saving Lonely Species Is Important for the Environment

03.11.2014

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 http://bit.ly/1nJBFxg

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
wheins@utk.edu
Phone: 865-974-5460

Whitney Heins | newswise
Further information:
http://www.utk.edu

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

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society

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

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: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

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...

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

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>