Navigation Links
Large-scale biodiversity is vital to maintain ecosystem health

Over the years ecologists have shown how biological diversity benefits the health of small, natural communities. New analysis by ecologists at UC Santa Cruz demonstrates that even higher levels of biological diversity are necessary to maintain ecosystem health in larger landscapes over long periods of time.

Think of it as patches on a quilt, says Erika Zavaleta, UCSC associate professor of environmental studies. Each patch may be a diverse habitat of plants, animals, and insects but it is equally important that the landscape "quilt" is made up of a diversity of patches that are different from each other.

"A mix of meadows, young forest, old forest and shrub lands, for example, might provide more benefits than a landscape of continuous young forest, even if that young forest itself has high biodiversity" Zavaleta said.

Zavaleta and two ecologists who recently received Ph.D.s from UCSC illustrate the importance of landscape diversity in their article "Several scales of bioversity affect ecosystem multifunctionality" published this week in PNAS, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Lead author Jae R. Pasari, who received his Ph.D. in 2011, conceived of the study for his dissertation. He, Zavaleta, and coauthor Taal Levi created simulations based on landmark research conducted by David Tilman, professor of ecology, evolution, and behavior at the University of Minnesota.

Tilman also a co-author created 168 plots nine meters square and planted them with randomized combinations of perennial grassland species. He was interested in how the plots would fare depending on the combination of species included.

Pasari, Levi, and Zavaleta took Tilman's data gathered since 1997 to create 7,512 experimental computerized landscapes. The computer simulations are grounded on very real data, Zavaleta said.

"We used the simulation models to create imaginary landscapes with many kinds of habitats," she said. The team was able to test combinations of "patches" in order to determine the overall potential health of the "quilt."

The authors write: "In addition to conserving important species, maintaining ecosystem multifunctionality will require diverse landscape mosaics of diverse communities."

"What's new here," Zavaleta says, "is reminding us that it's not just important to protect a diversity of species but also important to protect the mosaic of habitat patches in a landscape."

Conservation often emphasizes restoring land that has been mined, logged, or tilled, she said. Equally important is to recognize the role that restored landscape plays in a larger biotic community.

Pasari now teaches at Berkeley City College and at Pacific Collegiate School in Santa Cruz. Levi received his Ph.D. last year and is a wildlife ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystems Studies in New York. Both were supported in their research with National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships.


Contact: Guy Lasnier
University of California - Santa Cruz

Related biology news :

1. Genes behind obesity mapped in large-scale study
2. The large-scale EU project EU BON: Towards integration with its global counterpart GEO BON
3. Medical societies to launch large-scale study on vein filter use
4. Can algae-derived oils support large-scale, low-cost biofuels production?
5. Launch of the EU large-scale integrating project BlueGenics to combat osteoporosis
6. Bay Area PV Consortium announces $7.5 million in grants to lower the cost of large-scale solar
7. Aware Provides Biometrics Software and Services for Three Large-Scale Border Management Systems
8. Scientists provide first large-scale estimate of reef shark losses in the Pacific Ocean
9. Encouraging signs for bee biodiversity
10. Online biodiversity databases audited: Improvement needed
11. Oregon Biodiversity Information Center wins 2013 Natureserve Network Collaboration Award
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/3/2016)... 3, 2016 Das ... Nepal hat ein 44 ... geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, Registrierung und IT-Infrastruktur, ... Produktion und Implementierung von Identitätsmanagementlösungen. Zahlreiche renommierte ... Januar teilgenommen, aber Decatur wurde als konformste ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... May 24, 2016 Ampronix facilitates superior patient care by providing unparalleled technology ... LCD display is the latest premium product recently added to the range of products ... ... ... 3d Imaging- LCD Medical Display- Ampronix News ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider of ... MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , a ... projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple complex biometric ... combination of fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. It ... and MegaMatcher Accelerator , which have ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Supplyframe, ... of the Supplyframe Design Lab . Located in Pasadena, Calif., the Design ... of how hardware projects are designed, built and brought to market. , The ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... In a new case report published today ... a patient who developed lymphedema after being treated for breast cancer benefitted from an ... paradigm for dealing with this debilitating, frequent side effect of cancer treatment. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a ... discoveries to the medical community, has closed its Series ... Matthew Nunez . "We have received a ... the capital we need to meet our current goals," ... provide us the runway to complete validation on the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 On ... session at 4,833.32, down 0.22%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average ... 500 closed at 2,085.45, down 0.17%. has initiated coverage ... INFI ), Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NKTR ), Aralez ... Inc. (NASDAQ: BIND ). Learn more about these ...
Breaking Biology Technology: