Biological invasions have well-known direct effects on native ecosystems but may also unleash forces with complex, unexpected consequences. These ecological surprises may be especially common in simple systems, like islands, following introduction of megainvaders, like tramp ants.
In the September issue of Ecology Letters, ODowd, Green, and Lake show that impacts of invasion by the crazy ant Anoplolepis gracilipes ramify through the food web in rainforest on Christmas Island, totally reconfiguring this ecosystem in just 1-2 years.
On the forest floor, crazy ant supercolonies extirpate the dominant native omnivore, which indirectly increases seedling recruitment but slows litter decomposition. In the forest canopy, new ant-Homoptera partnerships accelerate, exacerbate, and diversify impacts. Sustained high densities of ants are associated with outbreaks of host-generalist scale insects and honeydew-dependent sooty moulds, leading to canopy dieback and even tree deaths.
Kate Stinchcombe | alfa
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The building blocks of matter in our universe were formed in the first 10 microseconds of its existence, according to the currently accepted scientific picture. After the Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, matter consisted mainly of quarks and gluons, two types of elementary particles whose interactions are governed by quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of strong interaction. In the early universe, these particles moved (nearly) freely in a quark-gluon plasma.
This is a joint press release of University Muenster and Heidelberg as well as the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt.
Then, in a phase transition, they combined and formed hadrons, among them the building blocks of atomic nuclei, protons and neutrons. In the current issue of...
Thin-film solar cells made of crystalline silicon are inexpensive and achieve efficiencies of a good 14 percent. However, they could do even better if their shiny surfaces reflected less light. A team led by Prof. Christiane Becker from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has now patented a sophisticated new solution to this problem.
"It is not enough simply to bring more light into the cell," says Christiane Becker. Such surface structures can even ultimately reduce the efficiency by...
A study in the journal Bulletin of Marine Science describes a new, blood-red species of octocoral found in Panama. The species in the genus Thesea was discovered in the threatened low-light reef environment on Hannibal Bank, 60 kilometers off mainland Pacific Panama, by researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama (STRI) and the Centro de Investigación en Ciencias del Mar y Limnología (CIMAR) at the University of Costa Rica.
Scientists established the new species, Thesea dalioi, by comparing its physical traits, such as branch thickness and the bright red colony color, with the...
Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets.
An international team of researchers has mapped Nemo's genome, providing the research community with an invaluable resource to decode the response of fish to...
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