Browsing by mammals often has a serious impact on the growth of tree saplings and the regeneration of forests. However, there is much uncertainty with regard to effects on soil nutrient cycling and in turn, potential consequences for the growth of plants.
In a paper to be published in the June issue of Ecology Letters, researchers from Lancaster University and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology have demonstrated a direct link between above-ground herbivory and below-ground nutrient cycling. Partial defoliation of tree saplings (European beech and silver fir) stimulated micro-organisms in the soil to release inorganic nitrogen (which is potentially readily available for plant use) at an increased rate.
Beech responded to the increased nitrogen availability by producing larger leaves with a greater photosynthetic capacity, compensating for the initial defoliation. Fir saplings showed no such compensatory responses, and growth was dramatically reduced. Such processes could potentially alter the ability of trees to tolerate herbivory and may also influence the competitive balance between tree species, particularly in regenerating forests subject to browsing.
Kate Stinchcombe | alfa
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Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz (Germany) together with scientists from Dresden, Leipzig, Sofia (Bulgaria) and Madrid (Spain) have now developed and characterized a novel, metal-organic material which displays electrical properties mimicking those of highly crystalline silicon. The material which can easily be fabricated at room temperature could serve as a replacement for expensive conventional inorganic materials used in optoelectronics.
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Augsburg chemists present a new technology for compressing, storing and transporting highly volatile gases in porous frameworks/New prospects for gas-powered vehicles
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When we put water in a freezer, water molecules crystallize and form ice. This change from one phase of matter to another is called a phase transition. While this transition, and countless others that occur in nature, typically takes place at the same fixed conditions, such as the freezing point, one can ask how it can be influenced in a controlled way.
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