Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New constellations of species change ecosystems

Date:
June 11, 2011
Source:
Expertanswer (Expertsvar in Swedish)
Summary:
Human activities that are causing global climate changes and destroying habitats in nature are leading to the extinction of many species from Earth's ecosystems. At the same time, many species are expanding the range of their habitat. In a new article, scientists offer suggestions for how research can get better at understanding species loss and the simultaneous gain of new species and how this affects the function of the ecosystem.

Human activities that are causing global climate changes and destroying habitats in nature are leading to the extinction of many species from Earth's ecosystems. At the same time, many species are expanding the range of their habitat.

An article by Professor David Wardle at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Umeå in collaboration with researchers in the UK, the US, and the Netherlands, now being published in the journal Science, sheds new light on this subject.

The scientists offer suggestions for how research can get better at understanding species loss and the simultaneous gain of new species and how this affects the function of the ecosystem.

At the same time as species disappear or are made extinct, many species expand their range as a result of humans introducing new species to new environments and because certain species benefit from ongoing climate change.

Some researchers have studied the consequences of losing a species in an ecosystem, while others have been interested in what happens when new species are added.

Even though species loss and species gain occur in parallel, researchers have not studied these two phenomena at the same time. However, it is important to do so if we wish to understand how human activities impact ecosystems' production, nutritional cycle, and capacity to store carbon.

The authors of the article make it clear that the species gained by the ecosystems due to human activities affect the ecosystems in a different way than the species that are lost. This means that the main impact of human activity on ecosystems may arise from our replacing species with other species that behave differently. It is stressed that these effects are most acute when the species dominate (have great biomass) in the ecosystem or have such key characteristics that they determine how the ecosystems function.

In the article the authors highlight that much remains unknown regarding how this simultaneous loss and gain of species can affect ecosystems.

Considerable and important advances have been made regarding how and why new (invasive) species change ecosystems, because much of the research in this area has focused on how the properties of the new species impact the ecosystems.

Today we have limited knowledge of how species loss affects ecosystems, because this has mainly been studied in a random selection of species in controlled experiments, despite the fact that species do not disappear from ecosystems by chance.

The authors emphasize the necessity of enhancing our knowledge of the changes in characteristics that have occurred as a result of species being lost and new species being added before researchers can say anything about how human activity impacts the function of ecosystems.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Expertanswer (Expertsvar in Swedish). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. D. A. Wardle, R. D. Bardgett, R. M. Callaway, W. H. Van der Putten. Terrestrial Ecosystem Responses to Species Gains and Losses. Science, 2011; 332 (6035): 1273 DOI: 10.1126/science.1197479

Cite This Page:

Expertanswer (Expertsvar in Swedish). "New constellations of species change ecosystems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110610081712.htm>.
Expertanswer (Expertsvar in Swedish). (2011, June 11). New constellations of species change ecosystems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110610081712.htm
Expertanswer (Expertsvar in Swedish). "New constellations of species change ecosystems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110610081712.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Snack Attack: Study Says Action Movies Make You Snack More

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — You're more likely to gain weight while watching action flicks than you are watching other types of programming, says a new study published in JAMA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Get A Mortgage, Receive A Cat — Only In Russia

Get A Mortgage, Receive A Cat — Only In Russia

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The incentive is in keeping with a Russian superstition that it's good luck for a cat to be the first to cross the threshold of a new home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Tourists in Palau clamour to dive with sharks thanks to a pioneering conservation initiative -- as the island nation plans to completely ban commercial fishing in its vast ocean territory. 01:15 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