Navigation Links
Soil-borne pathogens drive tree diversity in forests, study shows

MILWAUKEE What determines plant diversity in a forest? It's a question even Charles Darwin wanted to unravel. But most research into forest diversity demonstrates only patterns of species survival and abundance rather than the reason for them until now.

A team of researchers led by biologists at the University of WisconsinMilwaukee (UWM) has shown that soil-borne pathogens are one important mechanism that can maintain species diversity and explain patterns of tree abundance in a forest.

The paper, "Negative plant-soil feedbacks predict tree-species relative abundance in a tropical forest," is published today in the journal Nature. The lead authors are Scott Mangan, a UWM postdoctoral research associate, and Stefan Schnitzer, UWM associate professor of biological sciences. Other authors include Edward A. Herre and Evelyn I. Sanchez of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Keenan M.L. Mack and James D. Bever of Indiana University, and Mariana C. Valencia of the University of IllinoisChicago.

In a self-limiting process called "negative feedback," scientists have observed that the farther from the parent tree a seed falls, the better it fares. Negative feedbacks occur when juveniles growing near an adult of the same species are particularly vulnerable to the detrimental effects of enemies that accumulate in the soil near the adult tree.

In both greenhouse and field experiments, the researchers found clues that tree species differ in their susceptibilities to enemies found in the soil, such as viruses, bacteria and fungi.

The research reinforces the conclusion that certain tree species are abundant in forests because they are less susceptible to pathogens in the soil than rarer tree species, says Mangan. "Strong negative feedbacks with soil-borne pathogens prevent rare tree species from becoming abundant."

The study has shown that more abundant tree species exhibit the weakest negative feedbacks the opposite of what the team expected, says Schnitzer. And when the team scaled up the empirical data using simulation models they created, they found the same relationship between negative feedbacks and abundance.

The next step for the research team is to isolate the exact pathogens that are so powerful against each species. Using a genomics approach, they will examine how soil varies in the plant populations.

Schnitzer emphasizes that the work describes what could be one of many mechanisms that determine species abundance in forests. "We don't claim that because we found evidence of one mechanism, that there aren't others that also could be at work, but we know that this one is probably very important."


Contact: Stefan Schnitzer
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Related biology news :

1. Neiker-Tecnalia underlines the need to maintain programs for monitoring pathogens in wildlife
2. Genomes of citrus canker pathogens decoded
3. New technology enables machines to detect microscopic pathogens in water
4. Barrier in mosquito midgut protects invading pathogens
5. Smithsonian scientists find the frog legs trade may facilitate spread of pathogens
6. Daily bathroom showers may deliver face full of pathogens, says CU-Boulder study
7. Designing probiotics that ambush gut pathogens
8. Flexible neck in cell-receptor DC-SIGN targets more pathogens
9. UGA licenses invention that kills food-borne pathogens in minutes
10. Rapid test for pathogens developed by K-State researchers
11. New UGA invention effectively kills foodborne pathogens in minutes
Post Your Comments:
(Date:4/11/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... ... grow at a CAGR of 30.37% during the period 2017-2021. ... prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry ... over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion of ...
(Date:4/6/2017)... April 6, 2017 Forecasts by ... Document Readers, by End-Use (Transportation & Logistics, Government & ... Gas & Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear Power), Industrial, Retail, ... Are you looking for a definitive report ... ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... KEY FINDINGS The global market for stem ... 25.76% during the forecast period of 2017-2025. The rise ... growth of the stem cell market. Download ... The global stem cell market is segmented on the ... cell market of the product is segmented into adult ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... October ... ... a development-stage cancer-focused pharmaceutical company advancing targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, today ... of targeted HPLN (Hybrid Polymerized Liposomal Nanoparticle), a technology developed in collaboration ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... business process optimization firm for the life sciences and healthcare industries, announces a ... in San Francisco. , The presentation, “Automating GxP Validation for Agile Cloud Platforms,” ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... , ... October 09, 2017 , ... ... four-tiered line of medical marijuana products targeting the needs of consumers who are ... of Kindred takes place in Phoenix, Arizona. , As operators of two successful ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... Boston, Mass. (PRWEB) , ... October 06, 2017 ... ... spotlight female entrepreneurship within the healthcare and technology sector at their fourth annual ... six panels featuring 30 inspiring speakers and the ELEVATE pitch competition showcasing early ...
Breaking Biology Technology: