Navigation Links
Most plant species important in various and varying ecosystems: ISU research
Date:8/10/2011

AMES, Iowa From the kinds that people sneeze at, to the kinds that have prickly seeds that stick to pant legs, there are many different types of plants in grasslands around the world.

According to a new analysis of plants in grassland ecosystems around the world, it turns out that most of those plant species are important.

Brian Wilsey, associate professor, and Stanley Harpole, assistant professor, both in Iowa State University's Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology, are authors of a study on plant diversity published in today's issue of the journal Nature. The study's lead author, Forest Isbell, is a former graduate student of Wilsey who now works at McGill University, Canada.

Their findings show that most species promoted ecosystem functioning in at least some years, sites and environmental conditions. In all, 84 percent of the grassland species are important to the ecosystem at some point.

Prior to this multi-year, multi-context research, Wilsey said that the argument for diversity was more difficult.

"In any single context, only about 27 percent of plant species were seen as important," he said.

Since previous research had shown that such a small number of plant species were important to ecosystem processes, there was less reason to be concerned if grasslands lost different species and diversity lessened, according to Wilsey.

Now, the value of diversity is very apparent.

The species needed to provide one function during multiple years were not the same as those needed to provide multiple functions within one year, the report said.

"If you look at any one year at one site, you might say that species A or species B are really important," said Wilsey. "But what we found was that if you run the analysis over several years, sites or environmental-change contexts, many different species become important. This study really brought everything together."

Isbell and other authors looked at data from 17 grassland studies around the world, including two done in Iowa's Loess Hills at the Western Research Farm and another done in Texas by Wilsey's group.

"Under multiple contexts, many different plant species become really important," Wilsey added. "For instance, certain plant species are important on east-facing slopes and others are important on west-facing slopes. Some plant species are important on grazing lands because they help grasslands recover quickly.

Some plants are vital for nitrogen uptake, which is important because it keeps nitrogen out of water bodies." This study may have further value as researchers look to the future.

As climates change, Wilsey said, some plants may become more important because levels of precipitation and atmospheric CO2 change.

"The results suggest that many more species are needed than previously thought for maintaining ecosystem services in a changing world," he added. "So this study suggests that it is crucial to keep as much diversity as we can."


'/>"/>

Contact: Brian Wilsey
bwilsey@iastate.edu
515-294-0232
Iowa State University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Waging war on invasive plant species: Effects of invasives persist even after removal
2. Plant biologists dissect genetic mechanism enabling plants to overcome environmental challenge
3. Some plants duplicate their DNA to overcome adversity
4. Dissecting the genomes of crop plants to improve breeding potential
5. Plant immunity discovery boosts chances of disease-resistant crops
6. 1st large-scale map of a plants protein network addresses evolution, disease process
7. Scientists take a giant step for people -- with plants!
8. Novel gene increases yeasts appetite for plant sugars
9. Modeling plant metabolism to optimize oil production
10. Clinical tests for medicines made from genetically modified plants
11. Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia yield 18 new species of rare ferns and flowering plants
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Most plant species important in various and varying ecosystems: ISU research
(Date:1/12/2017)...  Trovagene, Inc. (NASDAQ: TROV ), a ... that it has signed agreements with seven strategic partners ... Middle East for commercialization of the ... wave of international distribution agreements for Trovagene,s CLIA based ... The initial partners will introduce Trovagene,s liquid biopsy ...
(Date:1/11/2017)... 2017 Intoxalock, a leading ignition interlock provider, ... its patent-pending calibration device. With this new technology, Intoxalock ... upload data logs and process repairs at service center ... "Fighting drunk driving through the application of cutting-edge technologies ... but also for the customer who can get back ...
(Date:1/6/2017)... Colo. , Jan. 5, 2017  SomaLogic ... the "Digital Life Alliance" established by iCarbonX, the ... 2015 to build a "Global Digital Health Ecosystem ... on a combination of individual,s biological, behavioral and ... the agreement between the companies, SomaLogic will provide ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/18/2017)... , Jan. 18, 2017 Applied BioMath ... modeling to drug research and development, today announced ... President, and CEO of Applied BioMath, will present ... and Modeling (BAGIM) Meeting on Thursday January 19, ... Cambridge , MA.   Dr. Burke,s talk "Quantitative ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... MA (PRWEB) , ... January 18, 2017 , ... ... today that Dr. Dante Leven successfully implanted SpineFrontier’s A-CIFT™ Solofuse-P™. The operation took ... Center in Valley Stream, NY. The procedure was an anterior cervical discectomy and ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... MYOLYN, which creates medical ... submitted a 510(k) to the FDA, requesting clearance of the MyoCycle Home and ... (FES) technology. , The submission marks a major milestone for the technology ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... 2017 , ... BidMed, LLC, announced it will hold a 1-day ... equipment from two different leading institutes. This highly specialized laboratory equipment is coming directly ... This 1-day online auction will take place on BidMed’s website http://www.bidmed.com ...
Breaking Biology Technology: