Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Peacekeeping creatures help maintain woodland diversity

Date:
September 20, 2011
Source:
Cardiff University
Summary:
Common woodland creatures, including woodlice, millipedes and worms, can help ensure the survival of weaker species of woodland fungi, according to new research. The findings reveal that, by feeding on the most combative fungi, invertebrates ensure that less competitive species are not entirely destroyed or digested.

Colorful woodland fungus. Common woodland creatures, including woodlice, millipedes and worms, can help ensure the survival of weaker species of woodland fungi, according to new research from Cardiff University.
Credit: Copyright Michele Hogan

Common woodland creatures, including woodlice, millipedes and worms, can help ensure the survival of weaker species of woodland fungi, according to new research from Cardiff University.

Huge fungal networks, often stretching over several hectares of woodland, compete with each other for space and resources and, now, findings have shown that invertebrates living on the woodland floor have the potential to govern the outcome of these battles.

Likening what happens in woodlands to the popular Nintendo Wii game, Spore Wars, Ph.D student Tom Crowther's study has just been published in the international journal Ecology Letters. His findings reveal that, by feeding on the most combative fungi, invertebrates ensure that less competitive species are not entirely destroyed or digested.

Tom said, "By not allowing the most dominant fungus to destroy all opponents, fungal diversity is maintained within the woodland. This is an important process as fungi are responsible for maintaining soil quality and fertility, allowing our native trees and plants to grow, and the woodland itself to function.

"We also know that the diversity of soil organisms plays a major role in determining plant diversity. In many ways, what happens in the woodland is very much like the game Spore Wars. Without these invertebrates acting as peacekeepers, many important fungal species would be displaced reducing fungal diversity and ultimately affecting the cycling and recycling of nutrients within the soil."

Tom, a student at the Cardiff School of Biosciences, based his work on laboratory microcosm studies, developed with his Ph.D supervisors, Professor Lynne Boddy and Dr Hefin Jones.

The study is the first to show how predicted changes in soil fauna, as a result of current climate change, may potentially have major consequences for the functioning of Britain's woodland ecosystems.

Considering the implications of the results, Tom said, "It's possible that what we've seen happen in woodland may also take place in all other soil environments. Soil invertebrates may not only be important in ensuring the health of our forests by maintaining fungal diversity, they may also be crucial for our garden and agricultural soils."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cardiff University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cardiff University. "Peacekeeping creatures help maintain woodland diversity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110920111806.htm>.
Cardiff University. (2011, September 20). Peacekeeping creatures help maintain woodland diversity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110920111806.htm
Cardiff University. "Peacekeeping creatures help maintain woodland diversity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110920111806.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Chimp Violence Study Renews Debate On Why They Kill

Newsy (Sep. 17, 2014) The study weighs in on a debate over whether chimps are naturally violent or become that way due to human interference in the environment. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 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