Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

One tree likes seabird poop, next prefers fresh air

Date:
January 22, 2014
Source:
Wageningen University and Research Centre
Summary:
Off the west coast of Peru, seabirds deposit thick layers of guano that accumulates on the ground because of the lack of rain. Guano has historically played a key role in agriculture worldwide because it is rich in plant nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous. Now, researchers revealed the effects of guano on the native trees of the arid coasts of South America. Researchers found that non-nitrogen fixing trees become more abundant closer to sea replacing the usually more abundant nitrogen fixing trees in these deserts.

Blue footed Boobies.
Credit: Wageningen University and Research Centre

Off the west coast of Peru, seabirds deposit thick layers of guano that accumulates on the ground because of the lack of rain. Guano has historically played a key role in agriculture worldwide because it is rich in plant nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous. Now, researchers from Wageningen University and Southern Illinois University revealed the effects of guano on the native trees of the arid coasts of South America. Researchers found that non-nitrogen fixing trees become more abundant closer to sea replacing the usually more abundant nitrogen fixing trees in these deserts.

"We think this is related to the positive effect of marine nutrients on non-nitrogen fixing trees," explains Gilles Havik, a former master student at Wageningen University and leading author of the Plos One paper that appeared on January 22. "Nutrients are limiting in the desert, so this input from the sea through the nitrogen-rich guano has a positive effect for trees that cannot fix nitrogen. What we found very striking is that trees that do fix nitrogen from the air do not seem to benefit from nutrients coming from the sea even though fixing nutrients from the air is expensive for a plant," continues Havik. These findings highlight the important interactions between marine and terrestrial environments, and the need to understand such interaction to guide conservation efforts.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Gilles Havik, Alessandro Catenazzi, Milena Holmgren. Seabird Nutrient Subsidies Benefit Non-Nitrogen Fixing Trees and Alter Species Composition in South American Coastal Dry Forests. PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (1): e86381 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0086381

Cite This Page:

Wageningen University and Research Centre. "One tree likes seabird poop, next prefers fresh air." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122202053.htm>.
Wageningen University and Research Centre. (2014, January 22). One tree likes seabird poop, next prefers fresh air. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122202053.htm
Wageningen University and Research Centre. "One tree likes seabird poop, next prefers fresh air." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140122202053.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

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
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

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