A team of researchers from the University of Göttingen in Germany and Yale University (USA) has presented the most comprehensive description and characterization so far of bioclimatic and physical characteristics of the world’s islands.
Tropical island of volcanic origin: Îles de Salut, off the coast of French-Guayana.
Photo: Patrick Weigelt, Goettingen University
Global map of physical-geographical and climatic characteristics of the world’s islands. Similar colors indicate similar characteristics.
Picture: Patrick Weigelt, Goettingen University
Islands make up only five percent of the land surface of the Earth, but they are home to a disproportionately high number of plant and animal species and provide ecosystem functions and services to more than 500 million people.
However, a quantitative description of the ecological conditions on islands had been lacking so far. The study published this week in the prestigious scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences now closes this gap.
The researchers investigated almost 18,000 marine islands with areas greater than one square kilometer. They also compiled ecologically important climate data and precise information about physical factors such as area, distance to the next continent and the proportion of landmass in the surroundings of each island. “The data that have been available so far have been woefully incomplete, imprecise – and often just wrong,” Patrick Weigelt from the University of Göttingen, first author of the study, explained.
The researchers employed modern statistical approaches to describe, classify and map the islands based on differences in their environments. This allows the identification of islands with similar environmental settings and will facilitate further island biogeographical studies and biodiversity conservation.
“These new results provide a novel perspective on thousands of our planet’s islands,” said Prof. Dr. Holger Kreft from the University of Göttingen, leader of the study. For instance, 65 percent of all islands are located in the tropics, but compared to mainlands, island climates are on average cooler and more humid. “An interesting finding of our study is that there are many more islands with a temperate rainforest climate, one of the rarest ecosystems on Earth, than expected by chance,” said Prof. Kreft.
The new insights may play an important role in understanding the evolution of biological diversity on islands. “Islands are microcosms where the evolution of biological diversity can be studied. Now, for the first time, we have a standardized global data set as a starting point for further global studies on island biodiversity,” Kreft added.Original publication:
Thomas Richter | Uni Göttingen
The big clean up after stress
25.05.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Complementing conventional antibiotics
24.05.2018 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering
24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy