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Latest food webs Stories

Lessons From The Grand Canyon: Dams Destabilize River Food Webs
2013-08-20 10:22:02

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies Managing fish in human-altered rivers is a challenge because their food webs are sensitive to environmental disturbance. So reports a new study in the journal Ecological Monographs, based on an exhaustive three-year analysis of the Colorado River in Glen and Grand Canyons. Food webs are used to map feeding relationships. By describing the structure of these webs, scientists can predict how plants and animals living in an ecosystem will respond to...

Food Web Affected By Parasites More Than You Think
2013-06-19 10:15:07

University of California - Santa Barbara Parasites are ubiquitous. They feed on virtually every animal and even on each other. Yet, for all the parasites' collective contributions to biomass and biodiversity, conventional food webs don't account for the presence of these tiny and numerous consumers. A recent study featuring work by several UC Santa Barbara scientists focuses on the impact parasites have on food webs, with findings that are expected to alter our picture of who-eats-who. The...

2013-06-12 13:19:59

Parasites comprise a large proportion of the diversity of species in every ecosystem. Despite this, they are rarely included in analyses or models of food webs. If parasites play different roles from other predators and prey, however, their inclusion could fundamentally alter our understanding of how food webs are organized. In a paper published 11 June in the open access journal PLOS Biology, Santa Fe Institute Professor Jennifer Dunne and her team test this assertion and show that including...

Carnivorous Pitcher Plants Play Host To Complex Food Web
2013-04-03 09:00:17

Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online At first glance, pitcher plants appear to be simple carnivorous plants that entrap and digest hapless insects that fall into them. However, a closer look reveals a complex food web of fly larvae, rotifers, midge larvae, and bacteria that exist within the plants´ pitcher. According to a new study by Harvard University, the predator-prey interactions among pitcher plant inhabitants provide an ideal model for understanding food webs...

A New Model For Understanding Biodiversity
2011-11-22 04:13:06

Researchers develop a unified theory of ecosystem change by combining spatial modeling and food web analysis Animals like foxes and raccoons are highly adaptable. They move around and eat everything from insects to eggs. They and other “generalist feeders” like them may also be crucial to sustaining biological diversity, according to a new study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). McGill biology researchers have developed a...

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2011-06-07 08:43:40

A new study by researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) shows that jellyfish are more than a nuisance to bathers and boaters, drastically altering marine food webs by shunting food energy from fish toward bacteria. An apparent increase in the size and frequency of jellyfish blooms in coastal and estuarine waters around the world during the last few decades means that jellies' impact on marine food webs is likely to increase into the future. The results of the study, led...

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2010-10-15 10:38:20

New research shows that nature and humans are leaving an indelible mark on rivers and streams, which are affecting the intricate food webs they support Rivers and streams supply the lifeblood of ecosystems across the globe, providing water for drinking and irrigation for humans as well as a wide array of life forms in rivers and streams from single-celled organisms all the way up to the fish humans eat. But humans and nature itself are making it tough on rivers to continue in their central...

2010-10-14 08:45:54

Projects address concern for acidifying marine ecosystems With increasing levels of carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere and moving into marine systems, the world's oceans are becoming more acidic, scientists have shown. To address the growing concern for acidifying marine systems, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded 21 grants under the Ocean Acidification theme of its Climate Research Investment. The awards are supported and managed by NSF's Office of Polar Programs,...

2009-09-15 08:33:02

Findings advance understanding of how complete food webs function Like the man-eating plant in Little Shop of Horrors, carnivorous plants rely on animal prey for sustenance. Fortunately for humans, carnivorous plants found in nature are not dependent on a diet of human blood but rather are satisfied with the occasional fly or other insect. The existence of carnivorous plants has fascinated botanists and non-botanists alike for centuries and raises the question, "Why are some plants...

2009-08-06 14:19:52

The findings, published in this week's issue of Science, conclude that food-web stability is enhanced when many diverse predator-prey links connect high and intermediate trophic levels. The computations also reveal that small ecosystems follow other rules than large ecosystems: differences in the strength of predator-prey links increase the stability of small webs, but destabilize larger webs.Natural ecosystems consist of interwoven food chains, in which individual animal or plant species...


Word of the Day
maffling
  • To stammer.
  • Present participle of maffle, to stammer.
  • A simpleton.
The word 'maffle' may come from a Dutch word meaning 'to move the jaws' or a French word meaning 'having large cheeks'.