Deforestation of one of the last European primeval forests has far-reaching consequences for the plants and animals living there – this is shown in a large-scale study published by biologists from Marburg and their Polish partners in the journal “Nature Communications”. The authors take into account interactions of plants with pollinators on the one hand, and with seed dispersers on the other hand. The effects of deforestation on interaction partners are coupled to each other: If one knows the consequences for the pollinator, the consequences for seed dispersers can also be predicted.
“Many plants rely on pollination of their flowers by insects and also need birds or mammals that disperse the plant seeds", first author Jörg Albrecht explains. "In this case, pollinators and seed dispersers indirectly benefit each other because they increase the reproductive success and dispersal capacity of the shared food plants."
A woodpecker is feeding on the fruit of the Red currant (Ribes spicatum). By defecating the plant seeds elsewhere, the bird contributes to their dispersal.
(Photo: University of Marburg / Jörg Albrecht)
So far, most studies focus exclusively on a single type of interaction: e.g., on the relationship between predator and prey, or on the interaction of plants with their pollinators. But, as the authors point out, “the same species are often involved in multiple processes."
Scientists led by Associate Professor Dr. Nina Farwig and Professor Dr. Roland Brandl of the University of Marburg wanted to know whether the destruction of habitats acts in the same way on multiple interaction networks.
The researchers found strong evidence for coupled responses of pollinators and seed dispersers to logging: "Our findings signal an alarm," the authors write, "as they predict that the conversion of primary old-growth forest ecosystems to secondary habitats may involve a parallel loss of multiple animal-mediated ecosystem services."
Dr. Nina Farwig holds the Robert Bosch Junior Professorship for "Sustainable Use of Natural Resources" at the University of Marburg. The current study was part of the doctoral thesis of Jörg Albrecht in the "Conservation Ecology" group under the supervision of Nina Farwig.
The project was funded as part of a doctoral fellowship from the German Federal Environmental Foundation to Jörg Albrecht and by funds from the Robert Bosch Foundation to Nina Farwig. Co-author Professor Dr. Roland Brandl is head of the "Department of Ecology – Animal ecology" group at the University of Marburg.
Original publication: Jörg Albrecht & al.: Correlated loss of ecosystem services in coupled mutualistic networks, Nature Communications, 2014, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4810
For more information:
Jörg Albrecht, MSc.
Tel.: 06421 28-25385
Juniorprofessorin Dr. Nina Farwig,
Tel.: 06421 28-23478
Johannes Scholten | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Quasi-sexual gene transfer drives genetic diversity of hot spring bacteria
29.05.2015 | Carnegie Institution
Scientists use unmanned aerial vehicle to study gray whales from above
29.05.2015 | NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service
Many joining and cutting processes are possible only with lasers. New technologies make it possible to manufacture metal components with hollow structures that are significantly lighter and yet just as stable as solid components. In addition, lasers can be used to combine various lightweight construction materials and steels with each other. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen is presenting a range of such solutions at the LASER World of Photonics trade fair from June 22 to 25, 2015 in Munich, Germany, (Hall A3, Stand 121).
Lightweight construction materials are popular: aluminum is used in the bodywork of cars, for example, and aircraft fuselages already consist in large part of...
Using ultrashort laser pulses, scientists in Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have demonstrated the emission of extreme ultraviolet radiation from thin dielectric films and have investigated the underlying mechanisms.
In 1961, only shortly after the invention of the first laser, scientists exposed silicon dioxide crystals (also known as quartz) to an intense ruby laser to...
The only professorship in Germany to date, one master's programme, one laboratory with worldwide unique equipment and the corresponding research results: The University of Würzburg is leading in the field of biofabrication.
Paul Dalton is presently the only professor of biofabrication in Germany. About a year ago, the Australian researcher relocated to the Würzburg department for...
Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.
Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...
Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services
To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...
20.05.2015 | Event News
18.05.2015 | Event News
12.05.2015 | Event News
29.05.2015 | Life Sciences
29.05.2015 | Earth Sciences
29.05.2015 | Physics and Astronomy