Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ecosystems cope with stress more effectively the greater the biodiversity

Date:
September 5, 2012
Source:
University of Zurich
Summary:
Ecosystems with a high degree of biodiversity can cope with more stress, such as higher temperatures or increasing salt concentrations, than those with less biodiversity. They can also maintain their services for longer, as botanists and ecologists have discovered. Their study provides the first evidence of the relationship between stress intensity and ecosystem functioning.

Ecosystems with a high degree of biodiversity can cope with more stress, such as higher temperatures or increasing salt concentrations, than those with less biodiversity. They can also maintain their services for longer, as botanists and ecologists from the universities of Zurich and Göttingen have discovered. Their study provides the first evidence of the relationship between stress intensity and ecosystem functioning.

Higher average temperatures and increasing salt concentrations are stress factors that many ecosystems face today in the wake of climate change. However, do all ecosystems react to stress in the same way and what impact does stress have on ecosystem services, such as biomass production? Botanists and ecologists from the universities of Zurich and Göttingen demonstrate that a high level of biodiversity aids stress resistance.

Higher number of species leads to greater stress resistance

The scientists studied a total of 64 species of single-celled microalgae from the SAG Culture Collection of Algae in Göttingen. These are at the bottom of the food chain and absorb environmentally harmful CO2 via photosynthesis. "The more species of microalgae there are in a system, the more robust the system is under moderate stress compared to those with fewer species," says first author Bastian Steudel, explaining one of the results. Systems with a higher number of species can thus keep their biomass production stable for longer than those with less biodiversity.

In all, the researchers studied six different intensities of two stress gradients. In the case of very high intensities, the positive effects of biodiversity decreased or ceased altogether. However, increasing stress in systems with few species had a considerably more negative impact than in those with high biodiversity levels. "The study shows that a high degree of biodiversity under stress is especially important to maintain biomass production," says Steudel's PhD supervisor Michael Kessler, summing up the significance of the research project.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Bastian Steudel, Andy Hector, Thomas Friedl, Christian Löfke, Maike Lorenz, Moritz Wesche, Michael Kessler. Biodiversity effects on ecosystem functioning change along environmental stress gradients. Ecology Letters, 2012; DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2012.01863.x

Cite This Page:

University of Zurich. "Ecosystems cope with stress more effectively the greater the biodiversity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120905083751.htm>.
University of Zurich. (2012, September 5). Ecosystems cope with stress more effectively the greater the biodiversity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120905083751.htm
University of Zurich. "Ecosystems cope with stress more effectively the greater the biodiversity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120905083751.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — Mount Paektu volcano in North Korea is showing signs of life and there's not much known about it. 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:
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