Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Biodiversity leads to higher productivity

22.03.2011
Ecosystems containing several species are more productive than individual species on their own. Using data from more than 400 published experiments, an international research team has found overwhelming evidence that biodiversity in the plant kingdom is very efficient in assimilating nutrients and solar energy, resulting in greater production of biomass.

“Plant communities are like a soccer team. To win championships, you need a star striker who can score goals, but you also need a cast of supporting players who can pass, defend and keep goal. Together, the star players and supporting cast make a highly efficient team,” says Lars Gamfeldt of the Department of Marine Ecology at the University of Gothenburg.

Gamfeldt is part of an international research team led by Brad Cardinale (University of Michigan, USA) which, in a special issue of the scientific journal American Journal of Botany on biodiversity, presents a study on the significance of biodiversity of plants and algae, which form the base of the food chain.

The research team based its study on the question whether ecosystems can maintain important functions such as production of biomass and conversion of nutrients when biodiversity is depleted and we lose species. In their quest for answers they have examined hundreds of published studies on everything from single-celled algae to trees. Using data from more than 400 published experiments, the researchers found overwhelming evidence that the net effect of having fewer species in an ecosystem is a reduced quantity of plant biomass.

There are two principal explanations for why species-rich plant communities may be more effective and productive. One is that they have a higher probability of including “super-species”, that is to say species that are highly productive and effective in regulating ecological processes. The other is that different species often have characteristics that complement one another. It is the fact that there is a "division of labour” among different plant species in nature that makes it possible for species-rich communities to be more productive.

The researchers also note that as a result of climate change and other human impact we are now losing species at a rapid rate. This means that we need to prioritise what we want to protect and preserve, in order to maintain the goods and services humans depend on.

”Nearly every organism on this planet depends on plants for their survival. If species extinction compromises the processes by which plants grow, then it degrades one of the key features required to sustain life on Earth," the principal author of the article Brad Cardinale comments.

Gamfeldt is attached both to the Department of Marine Ecology at the University of Gothenburg and to the Department of Ecology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Journal: American Journal of Botany on biodiversity
Title: The functional role of producer diversity in ecosystems
Authors: Bradley J. Cardinale, Kristin L. Matulich, David U. Hooper, Jarrett E. Byrnes, Emmett Duffy, Lars Gamfeldt, Patricia Balvanera, Mary I. O’Connor, and Andrew Gonzalez
The article The functional role of producer diversity in ecosystems can be downloaded free of charge until 2 April from http://www.amjbot.org/cgi/reprint/ajb.1000364v1

After this date journalists can contact Richard Hund, ajb@botany.org for a copy.

Contact:
Lars Gamfeldt, Department of Marine Ecology, University of Gothenburg
+46 (0)31 786 2920
+46 (0)70 339 3921
lars.gamfeldt@marecol.gu.se

Helena Aaberg | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se
http://www.amjbot.org/cgi/reprint/ajb.1000364v1

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>