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
Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH
Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences