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:6/21/2016)... 21, 2016 NuData Security announced today that ... of principal product architect and that Jon ... customer development. Both will report directly to ... moves reflect NuData,s strategic growth in its product ... customer demand and customer focus values. ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... TURKU, Finland , June 9, 2016 ... French National Police deploy Teleste,s video security solution to ensure ... France during the major tournament ... and data communications systems and services, announced today that its ... Police Prefecture to back up public safety across ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... , June 2, 2016 ... Manned Platforms, Unmanned Systems, Physical Infrastructure, Support & Other ... provider visiongain offers comprehensive analysis of the ... this market will generate revenues of $17.98 billion in ... acquired DVTEL Inc, a leader in software and hardware ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... A person commits a crime, and the detective ... the criminal down. An outbreak of foodborne illness ... (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the bacteria that ... It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used a complex, cutting-edge ... illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole genome sequencing is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016   EpiBiome , a precision microbiome ... in debt financing from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). The ... to advance its drug development efforts, as well as ... "SVB has been an incredible strategic partner to ... traditional bank would provide," said Dr. Aeron Tynes ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... BEACH, Calif. , June 23, 2016  Blueprint ... new biological discoveries to the medical community, has closed ... co-founder Matthew Nunez . "We have ... us with the capital we need to meet our ... will essentially provide us the runway to complete validation ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Velocity Products, ... tools designed, tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining centers at The ... of a collaboration among several companies with expertise in toolholding, cutting tools, machining ...
Breaking Biology Technology: