Navigation Links
Scientists demonstrate importance of niche differences in biodiversity
Date:8/12/2009

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) Scientists at UC Santa Barbara have found strong evidence that niche differences are critical to biodiversity. Their findings are published online in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

"Ecologists have long assumed that species differences in how they use the environment are key to explaining the large number of species we see all around us, but the importance of such niches have never been field tested," said first author Jonathan M. Levine, associate professor in UCSB's Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology.

Levine and his co-author Janneke HilleRisLambers, a former postdoctoral fellow at UCSB, who is now an assistant professor at the University of Washington, did field testing of small plants. These plants were found in northern Santa Barbara County on rocky outcrops, where diversity is very high. They used a combination of mathematical techniques, as well as experimental approaches, to remove niche differences from these experimental communities.

"Our work is important because it resolves a century-old biodiversity puzzle," said Levine. "Why doesn't the single best competitor exclude all others in the community?"

Ecological theory has posed two possible answers to the coexistence conundrum. "The classic argument is that niche differences allow species to divide up the environment, much like different products cater to consumers of different tastes or incomes," he said. "The alternative is that competitors are so evenly matched that no single species can win as occurs when different airlines offer the same route for the same price."

Conflict between these hypotheses has formed the single greatest controversy in ecology over the last decade. The new study provides the first strong evidence that species' differences are responsible for their coexistence.

Although the study's primary importance is in advancing pure ecological science, understanding how biodiversity works is critical. It is in those communities in which niche differences maintain diversity that species loss has the greatest impact on plant production, and other ecosystem services to mankind from economic to aesthetic.


'/>"/>

Contact: Gail Gallessich
gail.g@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-7220
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. UK scientists working to help cut ID theft
2. Scientists show that mitochondrial DNA variants are linked to risk factors for type 2 diabetes
3. Comet probes reveal evidence of origin of life, scientists claim
4. Scientists link fragile X tremor/ataxia syndrome to binding protein in RNA
5. Male elephants get photo IDs from scientists
6. Scientists retrace evolution with first atomic structure of an ancient protein
7. Muscle mass: Scientists identify novel mode of transcriptional regulation during myogenesis
8. Carnegie Mellon scientists develop nanogels that enable controlled delivery of carbohydrate drugs
9. Clemson scientists shed light on molecules in living cells
10. Scientists tackle mystery mountain illness
11. T. rex quicker than Becks, say scientists
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Scientists demonstrate importance of niche differences in biodiversity
(Date:3/24/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... Industry Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Biometric Vehicle Access ... 15.1% over the next decade to reach approximately $1,580 million by ... and forecasts for all the given segments on global as well ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... LIVERMORE, Calif. , March 21, 2017 ... recognition analytics company serving law enforcement agencies, announced today ... Sheridan as director of public safety business development. ... of diversified law enforcement experience, including a focus on ... Vigilant. In his most recent position, Mr. Sheridan served ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... , March 9, 2017 4Dx has ... World Lung Imaging Workshop at the University of Pennsylvania. ... invited to deliver the latest data to world leaders ... event brings together leaders at the forefront of the ... lung imaging. "The quality of the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/20/2017)... Dutch philosopher Koert van Mensvoort - founder of ... of Technology in Eindhoven - has written a ,Letter to Humanity, ... humanity to avoid becoming a slave and victim to its own technology, but ... ... philosopher Koert van Mensvoort – founder of the Next Nature Network and Fellow ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... NEW YORK , April 20, 2017 ... industry that focuses on novel drug development and clinical research ... morning are: Biostage Inc. (NASDAQ: BSTG), Keryx Biopharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ... (NASDAQ: ZIOP ). You can access our complimentary ... ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... ... April 18, 2017 , ... A number of new ... webinar, which is part of the Protein and Cell Analysis Education Webinar Series ... where this technology fits in current and future applications. , Many flow cytometers ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) , ... April 18, 2017 ... ... name to Halo Labs . The move comes after the company changed ... this new market, our new brand and our new technology,” says CEO Robert ...
Breaking Biology Technology: