Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Spatial Patterns In Tropical Forests Can Help To Understand Their High Biodiversity

Date:
September 28, 2007
Source:
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Summary:
In a study published in the American Naturalist a German-Sri Lankan research team has now undertaken thousands of spatial pattern analyses to paint an overall picture of the association between tree species in one of these plots in Sri Lanka.

Canopy of lowland hill dipterocarp forest in Sinharaja taken from the top of a lowland hill - Sinhagala (about 800m asl). It shows different species in different stages of leaf flushing (light green) and early fruiting (pinkish - red) stages but none in the picture in bloom.
Credit: Nimal Gunatilleke

The high biodiversity in tropical forests has both fascinated and puzzled ecologists for more than half a century. In the hopes of finding an answer to this puzzle, ecologists have turned their attention to the spatial patterns of such communities and mapped the location of each tree with a stem larger than a pencil in plots covering 25 to 52ha of tropical forest around the world.

In a study published in The American Naturalist a German - Sri Lankan research team has now undertaken thousands of spatial pattern analyses to paint an overall picture of the association between tree species in one of these plots in Sri Lanka.

"The problem of studying spatial association between species is that habitat association confounds the effect of plant-plant interactions" says Dr Wiegand, senior scientist at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany. The breakthrough in their analysis is that it allowed them to disentangle these two effects and to look in a new way at their data.

"From previous studies we knew that growth and survival of trees depends quite strongly on their neighbors" say Savitri Gunatilleke and her husband Nimal, both professors at the University of Peradeniya, "we had therefore expected to find strong signatures of positive or negative interactions between species in our data". "However, the fact that not more than 5 percent of the 2070 species pairs we have analyzed showed significant associations is quite remarkable."

A conclusion of their study is that neighborhood-dependent processes may equilibrate, thereby producing neutral association patterns in the spatial distribution of trees. "This is certainly not the last word in this debate," says Wiegand "but it is a step towards an understanding of the complexities of the origin and maintenance of species richness in tropical forests."

Reference: Wiegand, T, S. Gunatilleke, and N. Gunatilleke. 2007. Species associations in a heterogeneous Sri Lankan Dipterocarp forest. The American Naturalist 170 E77--E95.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Spatial Patterns In Tropical Forests Can Help To Understand Their High Biodiversity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070925095303.htm>.
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. (2007, September 28). Spatial Patterns In Tropical Forests Can Help To Understand Their High Biodiversity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070925095303.htm
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "Spatial Patterns In Tropical Forests Can Help To Understand Their High Biodiversity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070925095303.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-Fuel Impala

3BL Media (Oct. 20, 2014) Hey, Doc! Sewage, Beer and Food Scraps Can Power Chevrolet’s Bi-fuel Impala Video provided by 3BL
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

White Rhino's Death In Kenya Means Just 6 Are Left

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) Suni, a rare northern white rhino at Ol Pejeta Conservancy, died Friday. This, as many media have pointed out, leaves people fearing extinction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins