Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Large-scale biodiversity is vital to maintain ecosystem health

Date:
June 7, 2013
Source:
University of California - Santa Cruz
Summary:
Over the years ecologists have shown how biological diversity benefits the health of small, natural communities. New analysis by ecologists demonstrates that even higher levels of biological diversity are necessary to maintain ecosystem health in larger landscapes over long periods of time.

Over the years ecologists have shown how biological diversity benefits the health of small, natural communities. New analysis by ecologists at UC Santa Cruz demonstrates that even higher levels of biological diversity are necessary to maintain ecosystem health in larger landscapes over long periods of time.

Think of it as patches on a quilt, says Erika Zavaleta, UCSC associate professor of environmental studies. Each patch may be a diverse habitat of plants, animals, and insects but it is equally important that the landscape "quilt" is made up of a diversity of patches that are different from each other.

"A mix of meadows, young forest, old forest and shrub lands, for example, might provide more benefits than a landscape of continuous young forest, even if that young forest itself has high biodiversity," Zavaleta said.

Zavaleta and two ecologists who recently received Ph.D.s from UCSC illustrate the importance of landscape diversity in their article "Several scales of bioversity affect ecosystem multifunctionality" published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Lead author Jae R. Pasari, who received his Ph.D. in 2011, conceived of the study for his dissertation. He, Zavaleta, and coauthor Taal Levi created simulations based on landmark research conducted by David Tilman, professor of ecology, evolution, and behavior at the University of Minnesota.

Tilman -- also a co-author -- created 168 plots nine meters square and planted them with randomized combinations of perennial grassland species. He was interested in how the plots would fare depending on the combination of species included.

Pasari, Levi, and Zavaleta took Tilman's data gathered since 1997 to create 7,512 experimental computerized landscapes. The computer simulations are grounded on very real data, Zavaleta said.

"We used the simulation models to create imaginary landscapes with many kinds of habitats," she said. The team was able to test combinations of "patches" in order to determine the overall potential health of the "quilt."

The authors write: "In addition to conserving important species, maintaining ecosystem multifunctionality will require diverse landscape mosaics of diverse communities."

"What's new here," Zavaleta says, "is reminding us that it's not just important to protect a diversity of species but also important to protect the mosaic of habitat patches in a landscape."

Conservation often emphasizes restoring land that has been mined, logged, or tilled, she said. Equally important is to recognize the role that restored landscape plays in a larger biotic community.

Pasari now teaches at Berkeley City College and at Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz. Levi received his Ph.D. last year and is a wildlife ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystems Studies in New York. Both were supported in their research with National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Santa Cruz. The original article was written by Guy Lasnier. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. R. Pasari, T. Levi, E. S. Zavaleta, D. Tilman. Several scales of biodiversity affect ecosystem multifunctionality. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1220333110

Cite This Page:

University of California - Santa Cruz. "Large-scale biodiversity is vital to maintain ecosystem health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130607160335.htm>.
University of California - Santa Cruz. (2013, June 7). Large-scale biodiversity is vital to maintain ecosystem health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130607160335.htm
University of California - Santa Cruz. "Large-scale biodiversity is vital to maintain ecosystem health." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130607160335.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

Climate Change Rally Held in India Ahead of UN Summit

AFP (Sep. 20, 2014) Some 125 world leaders are expected to commit to action on climate change at a UN summit Tuesday called to inject momentum in struggling efforts to tackle global warming. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
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

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