Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Plant diversity has ’luxury’ effect, say scientists

27.06.2003


Biodiversity in urban/suburban yards correlates with household income



Biodiversity in urban and suburban yards directly correlates with household income, scientists have found.

Researchers at the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site found higher plant diversity in "upscale" neighborhoods. "The line flattens out, however, at about the $50,000 per year salary mark," said scientist Charles Redman. "When investigating urban systems, we must re-conceptualize biodiversity in terms of human choice, and in terms of how choices are made, and why."


These findings, published in this week’s on-line issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, "are a result of analysis of baseline data gathered in the LTER site’s 200-point survey, a major survey undertaken to measure ecological characteristics of the Central Arizona-Phoenix area, provide a baseline for future monitoring, and give an overview of features such as plant diversity, soil chemistry, and animal distributions," explained NSF’s Henry Gholz, LTER program director.

For the research, the entire study area (some 6,400 square kilometers) was covered with a five-by-five-kilometer grid. Field measurements were done in 30-by-30-meter survey plots, and included identifying all native and exotic plants; mapping the area of surface cover; collecting samples of soils, insects, microbes and pollen; and taking photos from the center of each plot.

Since this survey, which was conducted in the spring of 2000, scientists have monitored bird abundance and diversity, along with human activity, at 40 of the 200-plus sites, four times a year.

The resulting data is intended to provide a comprehensive picture of ecological characteristics of the Phoenix metro area and surrounding agricultural and desert lands, at a single point in time. However, the sites will be resurveyed every five years to monitor how these variables are changing with continued development, according to scientist Diane Hope, director of the field study. "Another use of the data is to compare features such as plant diversity and soil nutrient status in the city, and in the outlying desert," said Hope. "For example, preliminary analyses show that total plant diversity in the desert becomes greater as the elevation of the site increases, but in the city resource abundance (wealth) is the key factor."

Human geographic and socioeconomic variables are important factors in explaining spatial patterns in plant diversity and soil-nutrient status, the scientists found. In general, average plant diversity was similar between desert and urban sites, although the total number of plant genera and the variation in composition from site to site was higher in the urban landscape. Interestingly, said Hope, "median family income, age of residential housing and whether a site has ever been farmed are all correlated with plant diversity. Wealthier, younger neighborhoods and those on sites that have never been cultivated tend to have a greater number of perennial plant types."

In a separate study focusing on parks located in neighborhoods of differing socioeconomic status, bird diversity was also found to be greater in the higher income residential areas.


NSF Program Officer: Henry Gholz, 703-292-8481, hgholz@nsf.gov
Lead Scientist: Diane Hope, diane.hope@asu.edu .

NSF is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of nearly $5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 30,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 10,000 new funding awards. NSF also awards over $200 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

Receive official NSF news electronically through the e-mail delivery system, NSFnews. To subscribe, send an e-mail message to join-nsfnews@lists.nsf.gov. In the body of the message, type "subscribe nsfnews" and then type your name. (Ex.: "subscribe nsfnews John Smith")

Cheryl Dybas | National Science Foundation
Further information:
http://www.nsf.gov

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Statistical method developed at TU Dresden allows the detection of higher order dependencies
07.02.2020 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht Novel study underscores microbial individuality
13.12.2019 | Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A step towards controlling spin-dependent petahertz electronics by material defects

The operational speed of semiconductors in various electronic and optoelectronic devices is limited to several gigahertz (a billion oscillations per second). This constrains the upper limit of the operational speed of computing. Now researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg, Germany, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay have explained how these processes can be sped up through the use of light waves and defected solid materials.

Light waves perform several hundred trillion oscillations per second. Hence, it is natural to envision employing light oscillations to drive the electronic...

Im Focus: Freiburg researcher investigate the origins of surface texture

Most natural and artificial surfaces are rough: metals and even glasses that appear smooth to the naked eye can look like jagged mountain ranges under the microscope. There is currently no uniform theory about the origin of this roughness despite it being observed on all scales, from the atomic to the tectonic. Scientists suspect that the rough surface is formed by irreversible plastic deformation that occurs in many processes of mechanical machining of components such as milling.

Prof. Dr. Lars Pastewka from the Simulation group at the Department of Microsystems Engineering at the University of Freiburg and his team have simulated such...

Im Focus: Skyrmions like it hot: Spin structures are controllable even at high temperatures

Investigation of the temperature dependence of the skyrmion Hall effect reveals further insights into possible new data storage devices

The joint research project of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that had previously demonstrated...

Im Focus: Making the internet more energy efficient through systemic optimization

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, recently completed a 5-year research project looking at how to make fibre optic communications systems more energy efficient. Among their proposals are smart, error-correcting data chip circuits, which they refined to be 10 times less energy consumptive. The project has yielded several scientific articles, in publications including Nature Communications.

Streaming films and music, scrolling through social media, and using cloud-based storage services are everyday activities now.

Im Focus: New synthesis methods enhance 3D chemical space for drug discovery

After helping develop a new approach for organic synthesis -- carbon-hydrogen functionalization -- scientists at Emory University are now showing how this approach may apply to drug discovery. Nature Catalysis published their most recent work -- a streamlined process for making a three-dimensional scaffold of keen interest to the pharmaceutical industry.

"Our tools open up whole new chemical space for potential drug targets," says Huw Davies, Emory professor of organic chemistry and senior author of the paper.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

70th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting: Around 70 Laureates set to meet with young scientists from approx. 100 countries

12.02.2020 | Event News

11th Advanced Battery Power Conference, March 24-25, 2020 in Münster/Germany

16.01.2020 | Event News

Laser Colloquium Hydrogen LKH2: fast and reliable fuel cell manufacturing

15.01.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Active droplets

21.02.2020 | Medical Engineering

Finding new clues to brain cancer treatment

21.02.2020 | Health and Medicine

Beyond the brim, Sombrero Galaxy's halo suggests turbulent past

21.02.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>