Navigation Links
Brown scientists say biodiversity is crucial to ecosystem productivity
Date:4/24/2008

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] - In the first experiment involving a natural environment, scientists at Brown University have shown that richer plant diversity significantly enhances an ecosystem's productivity. The finding underscores the benefits of biodiversity, such as capturing carbon dioxide, a main contributor to global warming.

Osvaldo Sala, director of the Environmental Change Initiative and the Sloan Lindeman Professor of Biology at Brown, and Pedro Flombaum, a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Brown, said the results confirmed tests charting how biodiversity affects aboveground plant productivity in artificial ecosystems. Aboveground plant productivity (ANPP) is the amount of biomass, or organic material, produced by plant growth.

But the Brown team also learned that the correlation between plant species richness - the number of plant species in a unit of area - and ANPP in a natural ecosystem was greater than had been expected. What that means, the researchers wrote in a paper published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is that the greater the number of plant species, the more productive the ecosystem.

Conversely, species loss has a decidedly negative impact on ecosystems. This is especially true in light of the role ecosystems play in capturing the global warming gas carbon dioxide: The fewer the plant species in a given natural environment, the less carbon dioxide they capture.

"It's a double whammy," Sala explained. "We not only are disturbing our planet by putting more carbon into the atmosphere, but we're reducing the ability of ecosystems to capture and store it."

Sala and Flombaum conducted their experiments in the Patagonian steppe, a semiarid grassland located on the east side of the Andes Mountains in Argentina. They marked 90 plots, each containing three species of native grasses and three species of native shrubs. The team then removed a certain number of species from the plots and measured each revised plot's productivity.

"The water is the same, the nitrogen is the same, the sunlight is the same," Sala said. "What is different is the diversity of the plants."

What the researchers also learned in their experiments, which ran from 2002 to this year, is that plant productivity in a flourishing ecosystem is enhanced because each species assumes a specific niche. Ecologists call this "niche complementarity." The plants use the resources available to the whole system harmoniously, such as extending their roots at different depths in the soil, using different forms of nitrogen, and staggering when they photosynthesize.

"We are deeper into understanding the mechanisms of an ecosystem's productivity," Sala said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Richard Lewis
richard_lewis@brown.edu
401-863-3766
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Eliminating germline lengthens fly lifespan, Brown study shows
2. Brown hosts regional bioengineering conference
3. New study changes conditions for Spanish brown bears
4. Rare North Island brown kiwi hatches at the Smithsonians National Zoo
5. Computers explain why pears may become brown during commercial storage
6. Dont judge a brook by its color -- brown waters are more natural
7. Brown scientists take the petri dish to new dimensions
8. Good earth: Brown chemists show origin of soil-scented geosmin
9. Scientists urged to make a stand on climate change
10. Scientists clarify a mechanism of epigenetic inheritance
11. Scientists to explore global change-public health connection
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Brown scientists say biodiversity is crucial to ecosystem productivity
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 21, 2017 ... Cloud used by retailers such as 1-800-Flowers and ... platform — Product Recommendations and Replenishment. Using Optimove,s machine ... more personalized product and replenishment recommendations to their ... also on predictions of customer intent drawn from ...
(Date:3/16/2017)... Germany , March 16, 2017 CeBIT 2017 - Against identity ... Continue Reading ... Used combined in one project, multi-biometric solutions provide ... Used ... Systems) ...
(Date:3/7/2017)... , March 7, 2017 Brandwatch , the ... by The Prince,s Trust to uncover insights to support ... The Trust. The UK,s leading youth charity will be ... campaign results and get a better understanding of the topics and ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... April 20, 2017 , ... As part of ... explore challenging patient cases when screening for direct oral anticoagulant. When patients taking ... need for bridging parental anticoagulation especially for those at high risk of thrombosis ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... ... NetDimensions appoints Bill Mastin, a learning technology veteran, as its new Senior Vice ... technologies industry, Mastin joins NetDimensions from the New York office of learning and engagement ... served as SVP of the North America offices and prior to that, he held ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... 2017 Dutch philosopher Koert van Mensvoort - founder ... University of Technology in Eindhoven - has written a ,Letter to Humanity, ... on humanity to avoid becoming a slave and victim to its own technology, ... ... Dutch philosopher Koert van Mensvoort – founder of the Next Nature Network and ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... ... April 18, 2017 , ... Alisa Wright, founder and CEO ... from the Purdue College of Pharmacy in Lafayette, Indiana. , The Distinguished Alumni ... achievements in their careers and other scientific endeavors. , Wright began her career ...
Breaking Biology Technology: