Navigation Links
European grasslands challenge rainforests as the most species-rich spaces on Earth

The city of Manila holds the human world record for the most densely populated space and now an international team of ecologists are seeking the natural equivalent, the most species rich area on earth. The team's findings, published in the Journal of Vegetation Science, reveal the record is contested between South America's tropical rainforests and Central European meadows.

"The coexistence of large numbers of species in one space and the questions it raises have long fascinated ecologists," said Professor Bastow Wilson, from the University of Otago, New Zealand. "For example it's a core ecological principle that two species occupying the same niche cannot co-exist long-term, so how can 942 plant species co-exist in one hectare of tropical rainforest?"

While tropical rainforests of South America and Central Africa are often believed to be the most species rich areas on Earth, Professor Wilson's team sought to establish if this is true, especially if smaller spatial scales are analysed.

"We surveyed the global literature to find records of plant species richness at scales from 1 mm up to 1 hectare. Above 50 m, all the maximum values were from tropical rainforests in Costa Rica, Columbia or Ecuador," said Wilson. "However, looking at smaller scales we have found that long-grazed or mown grasslands are the most species rich places on Earth."

These very rich grasslands were found in the eastern half of Europe, from the German border through to Romania, although two examples were also found in Argentina. Most were over limestone, and two were from wooded meadow, a landscape once common over northern Europe but now very rare.

Using these data the team asked if there is a theoretical maximum for the number of species which can co-exist in one area. They extrapolated the relationship up to 1 hectare, predicting the number of plant species over the whole earth.

"Any scientific hypothesis should be tested in a new situation, and the strongest test is extrapolation, even if school teachers warn their pupils not to do it," concluded Wilson. "This left us with a predicted number of 219,204 species, remarkably close to the latest estimate of the world's vascular flora at 275,000 species."


Contact: Ben Norman

Related biology news :

1. Building the European Unions Natura 2000 -- the largest ever network of protected areas
2. An invasive Asian fly is taking over European fruit
3. Alnylam and UMass Medical School announce Tuschl I patent upheld in European opposition proceedings
4. European Neandertals were on the verge of extinction even before the arrival of modern humans
5. European Integrated Structural Biology Infrastructure launching
6. MDC researcher Zsuzsanna Izsvák receives advanced European research grant
7. EASL publishes first European Clinical Practice Guidelines for Wilsons disease
8. European Research Council supports search for regulators of tissue damage
9. European Geosciences Union General Assembly, April 22-27, 2012, Vienna, Austria
10. Cell Therapeutics, Inc. Expects That the European Medicines Agencys (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) May Issue an Opinion on the Marketing Authorization Application ("MAA") on Pixuvri™ in Mid-February
11. European mountain vegetation shows effects of warmer climate
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015 Today, ... announced a partnership with 2XU, a global leader ... deliver a smart hat with advanced bio-sensing technology. ... other athletes to monitor key biometrics to improve ... strategic partnership, the two companies will bring together the ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... 2015 Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA ), the ... has adopted the Synaptics ® ClearPad ® ... its newest flagship smartphones, the Nexus 5X by LG ... --> --> Synaptics works closely ... collaboration in the joint development of next generation technologies. ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... , Oct. 26, 2015  Delta ID Inc., a ... to mobile and PC devices, announced its ActiveIRIS® technology ... arrows NX F-02H launched by NTT DOCOMO, INC in ... is the second smartphone to include iris recognition technology, ... ARROWS NX F-04G in May 2015, world,s first smartphone ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... Va. , Dec. 1, 2015 Oxford ... senior debt to life sciences and healthcare services companies, ... secured term loan with MDRejuvena, Inc. ("the Company"). Proceeds ... and continued development of the Company,s Rejuvaphyl™ and daily ... Rejuvaphyl is the MDRejuvena brand of high potency ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... 01, 2015 , ... RURO, Inc., a leading LIMS, and ... colony management software solution, ezColony®, is now available as a subscription-based, cloud-hosted software ... , Many organizations are moving to cloud-hosting for LIMS and other ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... The American Society of Gynecologic ... Kyle Mathews will join fellow surgeons in the shared pursuit of “advancing ... experienced urogynecologist, founder of Plano Urogynecology Associates and Fellow of the American ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... new, Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) 10000 in the Santiago Marriott. The Global Stem ... is operated by a world-class team of qualified medical researchers and practitioners, experienced ...
Breaking Biology Technology: