Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Biodiversity leads to higher productivity

Date:
March 22, 2011
Source:
University of Gothenburg
Summary:
Ecosystems containing several species are more productive than individual species on their own. Using data from more than 400 published experiments, an international research team has found overwhelming evidence that biodiversity in the plant kingdom is very efficient in assimilating nutrients and solar energy, resulting in greater production of biomass.

Ecosystems containing several species are more productive than individual species on their own. Using data from more than 400 published experiments, an international research team has found overwhelming evidence that biodiversity in the plant kingdom is very efficient in assimilating nutrients and solar energy, resulting in greater production of biomass.

"Plant communities are like a soccer team. To win championships, you need a star striker who can score goals, but you also need a cast of supporting players who can pass, defend and keep goal. Together, the star players and supporting cast make a highly efficient team," says Lars Gamfeldt of the Department of Marine Ecology at the University of Gothenburg.

Gamfeldt is part of an international research team led by Brad Cardinale (University of Michigan, USA) which, in a special issue of the scientific journal American Journal of Botany on biodiversity, presents a study on the significance of biodiversity of plants and algae, which form the base of the food chain. The research team based its study on the question whether ecosystems can maintain important functions such as production of biomass and conversion of nutrients when biodiversity is depleted and we lose species. In their quest for answers they have examined hundreds of published studies on everything from single-celled algae to trees. Using data from more than 400 published experiments, the researchers found overwhelming evidence that the net effect of having fewer species in an ecosystem is a reduced quantity of plant biomass.

There are two principal explanations for why species-rich plant communities may be more effective and productive. One is that they have a higher probability of including "super-species," that is to say species that are highly productive and effective in regulating ecological processes. The other is that different species often have characteristics that complement one another. The fact that there is a "division of labour" among different plant species in nature makes it possible for species-rich communities to be more productive. The researchers also note that as a result of climate change and other human impact we are now losing species at a rapid rate. This means that we need to prioritise what we want to protect and preserve, in order to maintain the goods and services humans depend on.

"Nearly every organism on this planet depends on plants for their survival. If species extinction compromises the processes by which plants grow, then it degrades one of the key features required to sustain life on Earth," the principal author of the article Brad Cardinale comments. Gamfeldt is affiliated with both the Department of Marine Ecology at the University of Gothenburg and the Department of Ecology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Gothenburg. The original article was written by Anita Fors. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. B. J. Cardinale, K. L. Matulich, D. U. Hooper, J. E. Byrnes, E. Duffy, L. Gamfeldt, P. Balvanera, M. I. O'Connor, A. Gonzalez. The functional role of producer diversity in ecosystems. American Journal of Botany, 2011; 98 (3): 572 DOI: 10.3732/ajb.1000364

Cite This Page:

University of Gothenburg. "Biodiversity leads to higher productivity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321183015.htm>.
University of Gothenburg. (2011, March 22). Biodiversity leads to higher productivity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321183015.htm
University of Gothenburg. "Biodiversity leads to higher productivity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110321183015.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida

After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida

AP (Apr. 14, 2014) Florida wildlife officials say they have killed five bears following an attack on a woman in a suburban subdivision in central Florida. Forty-five year-old Terri Frana was attacked by a large bear in her driveway Saturday. (April 14) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Uruguay Opens Its First Cannabis Library

Uruguay Opens Its First Cannabis Library

AFP (Apr. 13, 2014) Uruguay opened its first Cannabis Library in Montevideo on Saturday, where people can come and read books on cannabis or take classes on how to grow the plant or even how to cook with it. Duration: 01:20 Video provided by AFP
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