Navigation Links
Biodiversity -- it's in the water
Date:5/9/2008

What if hydrology is more important for predicting biodiversity than biology" Research published in the May 8th issue of the journal Nature challenges current thinking about biodiversity and opens up new avenues for predicting how climate change or human activity may affect biodiversity patterns.

In the article, an international group of researchers demonstrates that the biodiversity of fish species in a river system can be accurately predicted with a simple method that uses only the geomorphology of the river network and rainfall measurements for the river system.

The 3,225,000 km2 Mississippi-Missouri river basin covers all or part of 31 US states, spanning diverse habitat types and encompassing very different environmental conditions. The one thing linking all these habitats is the river network. Using geomorphological data from the US Geological Survey, the researchers hydrologists from Princeton University and the EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland, and biologists from the University of Maryland -- identified 824 sub-basins in the network. In these, the simple presence (or not) of 433 species of fish was established from a database of US freshwater fish populations. Data on the average runoff production the amount of rainfall that ends up in the river system and not evaporated back into the air was then used to calculate the habitat capacity of each sub-basin.

With just four parameters, its an almost ridiculously simple model, explains EPFL professor Andrea Rinaldo. The model results were compared to extensive data on actual fish species distributions. Various different measures of biodiversity were analyzed, and the researchers were surprised to find that the model captured these complex patterns quite accurately. The model is all the more remarkable for what it does not contain any reference, anywhere, to the biological properties of individual fish species.

It is a formulation that could be applied to any river system, or in fact, any network at all. All that's needed are the geomorphology of the landscape and an estimate of average dispersal behavior and habitat capacity. This model is general enough that it could be used to explore population migrations or epidemics of water-borne diseases in addition to biodiversity patterns. The researchers plan to extend their work to explore the extent to which simple hydrology can act as the determining factor in a wide range of biodiversity patterns.

These results are a powerful reminder of the overarching importance of water, and the water-defined landscape, in determining patterns of life, notes Princeton professor Ignacio Rodriguez-Iturbe. It provides a framework that could be used to connect large scale environmental changes to biodiversity. Changes in precipitation patterns, perhaps due to global climate change, could be mapped to changes in habitat capacities in the model, ultimately providing a way to estimate how climate change would alter large-scale patterns of biodiversity. It could also be used for an assessment of the impact of specific, local human activities, such as flow re-routing or damming, on the biodiversity patterns in a river network.


'/>"/>

Contact: Mary Parlange
mary.parlange@epfl.ch
41-216-937-022
Ecole Polytechnique Fdrale de Lausanne
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Rainfall and river networks prove accurate predictors of fish biodiversity
2. Brown scientists say biodiversity is crucial to ecosystem productivity
3. Conservation of freshwater fish biodiversity: a challenge for the countries of the South
4. Surprising discovery from first large-scale analysis of biodiversity and biogeography of viruses
5. Oil palm research in context: Identifying the need for biodiversity assessment
6. Markets of biodiversity and equity in trade: An illusion?
7. New study finds biodiversity conservation secures ecosystem services for people
8. GBIF making the search for biodiversity research resources easier
9. Are current projections of climate change-impacts on biodiversity misleading?
10. Single-largest biodiversity survey says primary rainforest is irreplaceable
11. How global is the Global Biodiversity Information Facility?
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Biodiversity -- it's in the water
(Date:3/29/2016)... BOCA RATON, Florida , March 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... ("LegacyXChange" or the "Company") LegacyXChange "LEGX" and SelectaDNA/CSI Protect ... Synthetic DNA in ink used in a variety of ... preventing theft. Buyers of originally created collectibles from athletes ... authenticity through forensic analysis of the DNA. ...
(Date:3/21/2016)... , March 22, 2016 ... recognition with passcodes for superior security   ... a leading provider of secure digital communications services, today ... biometric technology and offer enterprise customers, particularly those in ... facial recognition and voice authentication within a mobile app, ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... JERUSALEM , March 15, 2016 ... Jerusalem , the technology-transfer company of the Hebrew University, ... developer of remote sensing technology of various human biological ... funding, raising $2.0 million from private investors. ... technology, based on the detection of electromagnetic emissions from ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/25/2016)... , ... May 25, 2016 , ... Scientists at the ... options being tried for mesothelioma may be hampering the research that could lead to ... Click here to read it now. , The team evaluated 98 ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted the company’s orphan drug designation request covering ... orphan drug designation granted by the FDA. , Spinocerebellar ataxia is a ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... , ... May 24, 2016 , ... Last week, Callan ... corporate executives and entrepreneurs, held The Future of San Diego Life Science event at ... Diego life science community attended the event with speakers Dr. Rich Heyman, former CEO ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... ... May 23, 2016 , ... PrecisionAg® Media has released its ... Beyond. The paper outlines the key trends that are creating both opportunities and ... a lot of highs and lows as the precision agriculture market has grown ...
Breaking Biology Technology: