Cushion plants are a type of plant found in areas such as Arctic environments, and are characterised by their distinctive, round, cushion-like shape.
Cushion Pink (Silene acaulis) is a good example of a cushion plant, and is one of the species that was studied in Sweden.
Photo: Henrik Antonsson
A new study highlights the strong interaction between cushion plants and other plants in the most severe of mountain environments.
“Cushion plants create additional viable living environments for other species, and are therefore important keystone species that provide the fundamental conditions required for greater biodiversity in the most extreme alpine environments,” explains Robert Björk, ecologist and researcher at the University of Gothenburg’s Department of Earth Sciences.
The studies show that these cushion plants create protective environments in the most inhospitable places for plants on earth for those species that are less tolerant to stress.
“We have shown that the more severe an environment is, the more cushion plants do to counteract the reduction in phylogenetic diversity. This relationship would not have been discovered if we not succeeded in discerning the interaction between plants.”
The researchers have studied 77 alpine plant communities on five continents. The cushion-like plant form has evolved more than 50 independent occasions in the higher plants’ evolutionary history, and can now be found in all major alpine, sub-Antarctic and Arctic regions around the world.
“If you compare the relationship between the species in the studied global species pool, cushion plants create even more phylogenetically unique plant communities the harsher the environments become, compared to the plant communities found in the adjacent open ground.”
The research has been partly financed through Biodiversity and Ecosystem services in a Changing Climate (BECC), a strategic research area initiated by the Swedish Government.
Link to the article in Ecology Letters: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/ele.12070/abstractContact:
Annika Koldenius | idw
Shrews shrink in winter and regrow in spring
24.10.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Ornithologie
'Y' a protein unicorn might matter in glaucoma
23.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology
Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
23.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
24.10.2017 | Life Sciences
23.10.2017 | Life Sciences
23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy