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Ecological globalization
Date:5/31/2008

ses into new locations. Invasive species and pathogens, such as fire ants from South America and the SARS virus from China, can create large, expensive problems: the U.S. currently spends over $120 billion per year on measures to prevent and eradicate invasive species. Understanding ecosystem connectivity across a range of scales from local to regional to continental will help scientists predict where invasive species are likely to go next.

The authors agree that field ecology studies should focus on long-term sampling networks that encompass a range of geographical scales. Integrating data from existing and developing networks, such as the National Science Foundations Long Term Ecological Research network (LTER) and NSFs National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), will lead to a level of power for ecological comparison unparalleled by any one experiment.

To draw conclusions about the consequences of increasing connectivity, we need to provide information about processes that span a vast scale of space and time, says David Schimel, an author in the issue and the chief executive officer of the NEON project. Our observations will characterize ecological processes from the genomic to the continental and document changes from seconds to decades.

Additionally, the authors suggest that long-term studies should include data from social and behavioral science to allow incorporation of human movement patterns into their scientific models. Ecologists hope that understanding the patterns of connectivity within and among ecosystems will lead to more accurate predictions of future ecological change.


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Contact: Christine Buckley
christine@esa.org
202-833-8773
Ecological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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