Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Model successfully predicts large river system fish diversity

09.05.2008
Controversial 'neutral model' used

While scientists have developed methods to predict aspects of fish diversity in specific river locations, a model to understand what factors may drive a comprehensive suite of fish biodiversity patterns in a large and complex system of rivers has been elusive.

Now a group of researchers, including University of Maryland ecologist William Fagan, reports success using a so-called “neutral model” to study fish diversity in the sprawling Mississippi-Missouri River System. Their study appears in the May 8 issue of Nature.

According to Nature, “That a simple model with a minimal set of parameters can capture the observed biodiversity patterns in complex landscapes suggests that effective monitoring of environmental change is possible, and could contribute to resource management and conservation strategies.”

“The neutral model approach means that we do not need to have detailed knowledge about the competitive hierarchy or species interactions within a group of organisms to quantitatively reproduce a wide variety of biodiversity patterns in that system,” said Fagan, co-principal investigator of the study. “This 'pattern oriented modeling,' in which we simultaneously reproduce a wide variety of empirical results using a single model fit, is a powerful approach for analyzing complex systems.”

Controversial Method

Using the neutral model, in which all species are assumed to be functionally equivalent, to predict biodiversity has been controversial in ecology circles.

“Neutrality is a 'hot' topic in ecology, because it flies in the face of decades of detailed studies of how species interact among themselves on local scales,” says Fagan. “The application of the neutral model to a complex, hierarchically structured spatial network like the Mississippi-Missouri River System is new.

“With a neutral model, we can suggest that a coarse assumption of equality is an excellent starting point for large scale investigations when little species-specific information is available.”

M-M River System

The Mississippi-Missouri River System was a good study area, Fagan says, because it is the largest confluent drainage system covered by the NatureServe dataset.

“The fact that we can replicate key aspects of the spatial patterns of fish biodiversity from the Appalachians to the Rockies testifies to the robustness of this approach,” said Fagan.

“One upshot from this work, still to be vetted in other systems, is the idea that some knowledge of the branching geometry of a river network, coupled with average runoff production, can provide crucial insights into the amount and spatial distribution of freshwater biodiversity and how that biodiversity may change as discharge patterns change.”

Ellen Ternes | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umd.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Despite government claims, orangutan populations have not increased. Call for better monitoring
06.11.2018 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Increasing frequency of ocean storms could alter kelp forest ecosystems
30.10.2018 | University of Virginia

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Purdue cancer identity technology makes it easier to find a tumor's 'address'

16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine

Good preparation is half the digestion

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Microscope measures muscle weakness

16.11.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>