Deforestation of one of the last European primeval forests has far-reaching consequences for the plants and animals living there – this is shown in a large-scale study published by biologists from Marburg and their Polish partners in the journal “Nature Communications”. The authors take into account interactions of plants with pollinators on the one hand, and with seed dispersers on the other hand. The effects of deforestation on interaction partners are coupled to each other: If one knows the consequences for the pollinator, the consequences for seed dispersers can also be predicted.
“Many plants rely on pollination of their flowers by insects and also need birds or mammals that disperse the plant seeds", first author Jörg Albrecht explains. "In this case, pollinators and seed dispersers indirectly benefit each other because they increase the reproductive success and dispersal capacity of the shared food plants."
A woodpecker is feeding on the fruit of the Red currant (Ribes spicatum). By defecating the plant seeds elsewhere, the bird contributes to their dispersal.
(Photo: University of Marburg / Jörg Albrecht)
So far, most studies focus exclusively on a single type of interaction: e.g., on the relationship between predator and prey, or on the interaction of plants with their pollinators. But, as the authors point out, “the same species are often involved in multiple processes."
Scientists led by Associate Professor Dr. Nina Farwig and Professor Dr. Roland Brandl of the University of Marburg wanted to know whether the destruction of habitats acts in the same way on multiple interaction networks.
The researchers found strong evidence for coupled responses of pollinators and seed dispersers to logging: "Our findings signal an alarm," the authors write, "as they predict that the conversion of primary old-growth forest ecosystems to secondary habitats may involve a parallel loss of multiple animal-mediated ecosystem services."
Dr. Nina Farwig holds the Robert Bosch Junior Professorship for "Sustainable Use of Natural Resources" at the University of Marburg. The current study was part of the doctoral thesis of Jörg Albrecht in the "Conservation Ecology" group under the supervision of Nina Farwig.
The project was funded as part of a doctoral fellowship from the German Federal Environmental Foundation to Jörg Albrecht and by funds from the Robert Bosch Foundation to Nina Farwig. Co-author Professor Dr. Roland Brandl is head of the "Department of Ecology – Animal ecology" group at the University of Marburg.
Original publication: Jörg Albrecht & al.: Correlated loss of ecosystem services in coupled mutualistic networks, Nature Communications, 2014, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4810
For more information:
Jörg Albrecht, MSc.
Tel.: 06421 28-25385
Juniorprofessorin Dr. Nina Farwig,
Tel.: 06421 28-23478
Johannes Scholten | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
New findings help to better calculate the oceans’ contribution to climate regulation
14.11.2018 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH
How algae and carbon fibers could sustainably reduce the athmospheric carbon dioxide concentration
14.11.2018 | Technische Universität München
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...
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...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
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...
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...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
14.11.2018 | Life Sciences
14.11.2018 | Life Sciences
14.11.2018 | Earth Sciences