Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Diversity in the deep blue seas

25.06.2004



Nature magazine has published an article by Xabier Irigoien, a researcher at AZTI, the Basque Fisheries and Marine Technological Research Centre. The article provides data on the diversity of marine life at the bottom of the sea - particularly amongst algae.

Species diversity

Most research carried out on the diversity of species has been with land animals. According to these investigations, diversity is greater in life-forms with medium productivity – defined as the relation between energy consumed and biomass produced.



But these patterns linking diversity and productivity in land animals are questionable when dealing with smaller beings as, for example, in the case of those at the lowest scale of the marine food cycle. According to some research, these species do not follow the pattern of animals analysed with respect to diversity.

In this research undertaken by Xabier Irigoien, on the other hand, it is shown that, in the case of algae – phytoplankton – these do, in fact, reach the maximum point of diversity with medium productivity. According to these results, it could well be that many of the patterns used in terrestrial ecology may also be applicable to marine ecology.

To arrive at this conclusion, the AZTI researcher undertook studies of more than 350 samples taken from various oceans in the world. In these analyses, the dominant pattern linking diversity and productivity is unimodal. In this pattern, when the productivity of the
species is small, its diversity is also small; when productivity is medium, diversity is maximum and, when the productivity increases, the diversity diminishes once again. In other words, the diversity has a triangular pattern.

Why unimodal pattern?

In the case of phytoplankton there could be a number of reasons why diversity is maximum when productivity is medium. The history of the community, the distribution of habitats, the struggle to find food and resources, the relationship between different species, the abundance or lack of food, the size of the species, etc. could be the cause of this diversity pattern. For example, if on the coast the waters are rich in nutrients and the productivity is high, there will be many predators and, thus, only those species of phytoplankton best adapted and prepared to face up to the predators will survive. The result is scant diversity. On the other hand, if the waters lack sufficient nutrients and productivity is small, few species will survive and, once again, diversity will be low. When the nutrients are sufficient and the productivity is medium, is when diversity amongst the phytoplankton is at its maximum.

Moreover, this pattern is even more interesting if zooplankton is analysed. Zooplankton feeds on phytoplankton and, according to Irigoien’s research, diversity amongst both life-forms is not related. This is not very usual amongst land animals, given that greater diversity amongst large prey usually translates into the same diversity amongst the predators.

Differences in size of species on which other species feed could also be the cause of the difference between land and marine animals. Specifically, phytoplankton is diminutive but the complexity of marine hydrodynamics is great.

So, what defines diversity amongst zooplankton? According to the AZTI researcher, just as occurs with phytoplankton, the struggle for nutrients and adaptation to predators are key. Thus, there is still much to investigate in the theory of the predator and prey and it could even be that that, in the end, this relation is discarde as far as diversity is concerned.

Raul Lopez de Gereñu | Basque research
Further information:
http://www.azti.es

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The Secret of the Rock Drawings
24.05.2019 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie

nachricht Chemical juggling with three particles
24.05.2019 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New studies increase confidence in NASA's measure of Earth's temperature

A new assessment of NASA's record of global temperatures revealed that the agency's estimate of Earth's long-term temperature rise in recent decades is accurate to within less than a tenth of a degree Fahrenheit, providing confidence that past and future research is correctly capturing rising surface temperatures.

The most complete assessment ever of statistical uncertainty within the GISS Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP) data product shows that the annual values...

Im Focus: The geometry of an electron determined for the first time

Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer. The experiments were published in Physical Review Letters and the related theory in Physical Review B.

The spin of an electron is a promising candidate for use as the smallest information unit (qubit) of a quantum computer. Controlling and switching this spin or...

Im Focus: Self-repairing batteries

UTokyo engineers develop a way to create high-capacity long-life batteries

Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...

Im Focus: Quantum Cloud Computing with Self-Check

With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.

Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...

Im Focus: Accelerating quantum technologies with materials processing at the atomic scale

'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.

However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

On Mars, sands shift to a different drum

24.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

Piedmont Atlanta first in Georgia to offer new minimally invasive treatment for emphysema

24.05.2019 | Medical Engineering

Chemical juggling with three particles

24.05.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>