Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists Show Wildlife Corridors Promote Animal, Plant Dispersal

01.07.2005


A study by a North Carolina State University zoologist and colleagues from the University of Florida and Allegheny College says that landscape corridors – strips of land connecting separated areas of similar habitat – are effective in promoting animal and plant seed movement to help sustain diversity and dispersal of native animals and plants.


An example of a landscape corridor connecting two patches of habitat at the Savannah River Site National Environmental Research Park.



In addition, says Dr. Nick Haddad, associate professor of zoology at NC State and a co-author of the paper describing the research, the study shows that easy-to-measure animal behaviors can serve as predictors for whether landscape corridors will be effective dispersal mechanisms for those specific animals and the plants they eat.

The research is published in the July 1 edition of Science.


Haddad and other scientists have published a number of studies on the efficacy of landscape corridors in promoting dispersal of animals. Haddad says corridors essentially reconnect habitats that were once connected before fragmentation – brought on by urban or farm development, for example – threatened native animals and plants. Lack of dispersal means animals and plants become vulnerable to being lost or developing negative genetic effects found in small populations, like those acquired through inbreeding, Haddad says.

The researchers tested their corridors at the Savannah River Site National Environmental Research Park, a federally protected area on the South Carolina-Georgia border that is mostly dominated by pine tree forests. At the researchers’ request, the U.S. Forest Service arranged eight similar sites; each site included five areas cleared of trees. The central patch was connected to one other patch by a 150-meter-long, 25-meter-wide corridor, while three other patches were isolated from the central patch – and themselves – by forest.

In the study, the researchers found that Eastern Bluebirds, one of the major seed dispersers in South Carolina, were 31 percent more likely to be found in the center of connected patches than the center of unconnected patches. The study also showed that seeds from wax myrtle plants – found in the fecal matter of the birds – were 37 percent more likely to be found in traps in the center of connected patches than in traps in the center of unconnected patches.

These results – showing increased movement of animals and plants in habitats connected by corridors – mimicked other previously published studies done by these and other researchers, Haddad says.

But this study has an even more important and broad impact, according to Haddad.

The researchers observed behaviors of bluebirds during the course of the study and found that the birds were not necessarily using the landscape corridors, but were instead often traveling along the edges of the corridors.

Using these behaviors in a predictive model, the researchers arrived at estimates of the numbers of birds distributing seeds to both the connected and unconnected patches.

The study shows a “tight fit” between predictions and actual seed movement.

“From behavioral studies, we can predict how animals will move in large-scale landscapes,” Haddad says. “This study is specifically designed to understand how species might move through corridors. But understanding behavioral approaches is important in any context where you’re worried about the spread of organisms through a landscape, like the spread of non-native invasive species or birds that carry diseases.”

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation and by the Department of Energy-Savannah River Operations Office through the U.S. Forest Service Savannah River Institute.

Dr. Nick Haddad | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ncsu.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: 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...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

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

The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Fish recognize their prey by electric colors

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Ultrasound Connects

13.11.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>