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Latest Ecosystem Stories

Exclusive Species More Prevalent On Higher Altitude Islands
2012-04-11 03:47:30

In the ecosystems of islands with high mountains, endemic animal and vegetation species are twice as isolated, making them even more exclusive. A European study with Spanish involvement confirms this, which adds the factor of altitude to wider biodiversity. Oceanic islands are born, they grow, they are eroded and they disappear beneath the sea. Throughout this process, which takes millions of years, the islands change form and therefore change their 'tenants'. The species adapt to the new...

Everything Within Balance: As Predators Decrease, Ecosystems Suffer
2012-04-10 12:37:03

As predators dwindle in the Northern Hemisphere, populations of their would-be prey begin to flourish. A new survey suggests such large populations are harmful to their specific ecosystems. Scientists from Oregon State University examined 42 studies from the past 50 years and found that as wolves disappear from the northern United States, Canada, and Alaska, populations of moose and deer swell. The resulting boom in moose and deer populations can be harmful to other living things in the...

2012-03-30 10:30:36

Extreme weather such as hurricanes, torrential downpours and droughts will become more frequent in pace with global warming. Consequently, this increases the risk for species extinction, especially in bio diverse ecosystems such as coral reefs and tropical rainforests. Human impact means that flora and fauna become extinct at a rate 100-1000 times higher than normal. Climate change has been deemed as one of the main causes of species depletion. A research team in theoretical biology at...

2012-03-28 00:49:59

The two-and-a-half-year TARA OCEANS expedition finishes on 31 March when the ship and crew reach Lorient, France. The arrival completes a journey of 60 000 miles across all the world´s major oceans to sample and investigate microorganisms in the largest ecosystem on the planet, reports Eric Karsenti in an editorial published today in Molecular Systems Biology. “Life and evolution started in the oceans, yet we know very little about the distribution of marine biodiversity,”...

2012-03-27 20:34:57

Paris-based DIVERSITAS to spearhead global investigation into the '5 Ws' of biodiversity loss and how to mitigate it Concluding a four-year global consultation, international experts have agreed on key efforts needed to reduce the on-going loss of biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. On Day 2 of the Planet under Pressure conference in London (planetunderpressure2012.net) March 27, leaders of the global biodiversity research programme DIVERSITAS described the urgent need to...

Mesquite Trees Displacing Southwestern Grasslands
2012-03-19 04:15:21

As the desert Southwest becomes hotter and drier, semi-arid grasslands are slowly being replaced by a landscape dominated by mesquite trees, such as Prosopis velutina, and other woody shrubs, a team of University of Arizona researchers has found. In a "leaf-to-landscape" approach, the team combined physiological experiments on individual plants and measurements across entire ecosystems to quantify how well grasslands, compared to mesquite trees and woody shrubs, cope with heat and water...

2012-03-06 23:54:01

Microorganisms play pivotal functions in nature, particularly within aquatic ecosystems. Whether in an ocean or a lake, they are key players in the food chain and the vitality of individual ecosystems. A team of researchers led by Arezoo M. Ardekani, the Rev. John Cardinal O'Hara, C.S.C., Assistant Professor of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, has shown that density stratification, a frequent feature of aquatic environments, has important ecological...

Classic Model For Ecological Stability Revised
2012-02-20 04:32:08

Predator-prey relationships stabilize diverse ecosystems, according to calculation A famous mathematical formula which shook the world of ecology 40 years ago has been revisited and refined by two University of Chicago researchers in the current issue of Nature. In 1972, physicist Robert May rankled ecologists by publishing a simple model describing the relationship between diversity and stability in a theoretical ecosystem. Though ecologists had long believed that richer, more diverse...

2012-01-30 11:48:56

Study suggests that plant biodiversity buffers negative climate change effects and drylands desertification An international team of researchers including Dr. Bertrand Boeken of the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev suggest in a new study that plant biodiversity preservation is crucial to buffer negative effects of climate change and desertification in drylands. The study titled, "Plant species richness and ecosystem multi-functionality...

Diverse Ecosystems Are Crucial Climate Change Buffer
2012-01-13 04:37:10

Preserving diverse plant life will help buffer the negative effects of climate change and desertification in drylands Preserving diverse plant life will be crucial to buffer the negative effects of climate change and desertification in the world's drylands, according to a new landmark study. The findings of the multi-author study, published January 12 in the journal Science, are based on samples of ecosystems in every continent except Antarctica. They confirm for the first time that...


Word of the Day
toccata
  • In music, a work for a keyboard-instrument, like the pianoforte or organ, originally intended to utilize and display varieties of touch: but the term has been extended so as to include many irregular works, similar to the prelude, the fantasia, and the improvisation.
This word is Italian in origin, coming from the feminine past participle of 'toccare,' to touch.
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