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 Perseus translates proteomics data
27.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

nachricht Severity of enzyme deficiency central to favism
26.07.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Self-assembling nano inks form conductive and transparent grids during imprint

Transparent electronics devices are present in today’s thin film displays, solar cells, and touchscreens. The future will bring flexible versions of such devices. Their production requires printable materials that are transparent and remain highly conductive even when deformed. Researchers at INM – Leibniz Institute for New Materials have combined a new self-assembling nano ink with an imprint process to create flexible conductive grids with a resolution below one micrometer.

To print the grids, an ink of gold nanowires is applied to a substrate. A structured stamp is pressed on the substrate and forces the ink into a pattern. “The...

Im Focus: The Glowing Brain

A new Fraunhofer MEVIS method conveys medical interrelationships quickly and intuitively with innovative visualization technology

On the monitor, a brain spins slowly and can be examined from every angle. Suddenly, some sections start glowing, first on the side and then the entire back of...

Im Focus: Newly discovered material property may lead to high temp superconductivity

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Ames Laboratory have discovered an unusual property of purple bronze that may point to new ways to achieve high temperature superconductivity.

While studying purple bronze, a molybdenum oxide, researchers discovered an unconventional charge density wave on its surface.

Im Focus: Mapping electromagnetic waveforms

Munich Physicists have developed a novel electron microscope that can visualize electromagnetic fields oscillating at frequencies of billions of cycles per second.

Temporally varying electromagnetic fields are the driving force behind the whole of electronics. Their polarities can change at mind-bogglingly fast rates, and...

Im Focus: Continental tug-of-war - until the rope snaps

Breakup of continents with two speed: Continents initially stretch very slowly along the future splitting zone, but then move apart very quickly before the onset of rupture. The final speed can be up to 20 times faster than in the first, slow extension phase.phases

Present-day continents were shaped hundreds of millions of years ago as the supercontinent Pangaea broke apart. Derived from Pangaea’s main fragments Gondwana...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

GROWING IN CITIES - Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Urban Gardening

15.07.2016 | Event News

SIGGRAPH2016 Computer Graphics Interactive Techniques, 24-28 July, Anaheim, California

15.07.2016 | Event News

Partner countries of FAIR accelerator meet in Darmstadt and approve developments

11.07.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

New study reveals where MH370 debris more likely to be found

27.07.2016 | Earth Sciences

Dirty to drinkable

27.07.2016 | Materials Sciences

Exploring one of the largest salt flats in the world

27.07.2016 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>