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
Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel
Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy