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 August 23, 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 August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Airlines on Iceland Volcano Alert

Airlines on Iceland Volcano Alert

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 22, 2014) Iceland evacuates an area north of the country's Bardarbunga volcano, as the country's civil protection agency says it cannot rule out an eruption. Authorities have already warned airlines. As Joel Flynn reports, ash from the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010 shut down much of Europe's airspace for six days. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) A federal judge temporarily banned coyote hunting to save endangered red wolves, but local hunters say that the wolf preservation program does more harm than good. Meanwhile federal officials are reviewing its wolf program in North Carolina. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks

Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) China's energy revolution could do more harm than good for the environment, despite the country's commitment to reducing pollution and curbing its carbon emissions. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer

Microbrewery Chooses Special Can for Its Beer

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) Aluminum giant, Novelis, has partnered with Red Hare Brewing Company to introduce the first certified high-content recycled beverage can. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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