Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cushion plants help other plants survive

18.02.2013
Alpine cushion plants help other plants in harsh mountain environments to survive. This is shown by new research involving researchers from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, the results of which are now being publishing in the highly respected journal Ecology Letters.

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/abstract

Contact:
Robert G. Björk, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg
Telephone: +46 (0)31 786 2835, mobile: +46 (0)704 54 65 41
E-mail: robert.bjork@gu.se

Annika Koldenius | idw
Further information:
http://www.gu.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How to become a T follicular helper cell
31.07.2015 | La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology

nachricht Heating and cooling with light leads to ultrafast DNA diagnostics
31.07.2015 | University of California - Berkeley

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Quantum Matter Stuck in Unrest

Using ultracold atoms trapped in light crystals, scientists from the MPQ, LMU, and the Weizmann Institute observe a novel state of matter that never thermalizes.

What happens if one mixes cold and hot water? After some initial dynamics, one is left with lukewarm water—the system has thermalized to a new thermal...

Im Focus: On the crest of the wave: Electronics on a time scale shorter than a cycle of light

Physicists from Regensburg and Marburg, Germany have succeeded in taking a slow-motion movie of speeding electrons in a solid driven by a strong light wave. In the process, they have unraveled a novel quantum phenomenon, which will be reported in the forthcoming edition of Nature.

The advent of ever faster electronics featuring clock rates up to the multiple-gigahertz range has revolutionized our day-to-day life. Researchers and...

Im Focus: Superfast fluorescence sets new speed record

Plasmonic device has speed and efficiency to serve optical computers

Researchers have developed an ultrafast light-emitting device that can flip on and off 90 billion times a second and could form the basis of optical computing.

Im Focus: Unlocking the rice immune system

Joint BioEnergy Institute study identifies bacterial protein that is key to protecting rice against bacterial blight

A bacterial signal that when recognized by rice plants enables the plants to resist a devastating blight disease has been identified by a multi-national team...

Im Focus: Smarter window materials can control light and energy

Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin are one step closer to delivering smart windows with a new level of energy efficiency, engineering materials that allow windows to reveal light without transferring heat and, conversely, to block light while allowing heat transmission, as described in two new research papers.

By allowing indoor occupants to more precisely control the energy and sunlight passing through a window, the new materials could significantly reduce costs for...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Euro Bio-inspired - International Conference and Exhibition on Bio-inspired Materials

23.07.2015 | Event News

Clash of Realities – International Conference on the Art, Technology and Theory of Digital Games

10.07.2015 | Event News

World Conference on Regenerative Medicine in Leipzig: Last chance to submit abstracts until 2 July

25.06.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tool making and additive technology exhibition: Fraunhofer IPT at Formnext

31.07.2015 | Trade Fair News

First Siemens-built Thameslink train arrives in London

31.07.2015 | Transportation and Logistics

California 'rain debt' equal to average full year of precipitation

31.07.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>