Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Untangling the web of tropical biodiversity

24.10.2002


Caterpillar study shows order in the complexity of tropical biodiversity



One of the world’s largest and highest-quality set of observations on live tropical insects and their host plants has led researchers to reinterpret the structure of tropical insect communities. The team of scientists who collaborated on this analysis includes Scott Miller of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Yves Basset of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Vojtech Novotny of the Czech Academy of Sciences and George Weiblen of the University of Minnesota. The findings from research in Papua New Guinea will be in the Nov. 22 edition of the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. The research paper is available on the Web at www.pubs.royalsoc.ac.uk

Due to the present high interest in tropical biodiversity, there have been numerous studies on the subject in the last 20 years. These studies reported little predictability in the structure and composition of tropical insect communities, and they were based on techniques that sample dead insects with little data on their biology. "Predictably Simple: Assemblages of Caterpillars (Lepidoptera) Feeding On Rainforest Trees in Papua New Guinea" is a study that shows a different approach. The study was conducted using 35,942 live caterpillars, each carefully handpicked from the foliage in a lowland rainforest in Papua New Guinea. These caterpillars were then reared to adults, which allowed solid identification of species.


"Our study of live insects enabled us to find and interpret insect community composition better than ever before," said Scott Miller, chairman of the Department of Systematic Biology at the Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum. "Our methods allowed better exclusion ’tourists’--insects moving through but not actually part of the community -- than in previous studies."

This analysis of caterpillars is just one of many emerging from long-term research. Miller, Basset, Novotny and Weiblen built their study upon the work of complementary Smithsonian research programs, including those of Terry Erwin and Jonathan Coddington of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and Steve Hubbell of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. The National Science Foundation has supported the scientists’ work for the past eight years, and they have recently renewed their support for another three years.

As a result of the scientists’ study on insect herbivore assemblages in tropical forests, they have learned that there is indeed a predictable structure in caterpillar communities. This structure allows tropical insect communities to be measured and used in a variety of academic and applied studies. The scientists plan on implementing a New Guinea-wide sampling program under their new National Science Foundation grant.

The National Museum of Natural History, located at 10th Street and Constitution Avenue, N.W., welcomed more than 8.4 million people during the year 2001, making it the most visited natural history museum in the world. Opened in 1910, the museum is dedicated to maintaining and preserving the world’s most extensive collection of natural history specimens and human artifacts. It also fosters critical scientific research as well as educational programs and exhibitions that present the work of its scientists and curators to the public. The museum is part of the Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum and research complex. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Michele Urie | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.pubs.royalsoc.ac.uk
http://www.si.edu/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Unique genome architectures after fertilisation in single-cell embryos
30.03.2017 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

nachricht Transport of molecular motors into cilia
28.03.2017 | Aarhus University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

'On-off switch' brings researchers a step closer to potential HIV vaccine

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Penn studies find promise for innovations in liquid biopsies

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

An LED-based device for imaging radiation induced skin damage

30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>