“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
After this date journalists can contact Richard Hund, firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy.Contact:
Show me your leaves - Health check for urban trees
12.12.2017 | Gesellschaft für Ökologie e.V.
Liver Cancer: Lipid Synthesis Promotes Tumor Formation
12.12.2017 | Universität Basel
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences
12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering