Navigation Links
The grass is always greener
Date:8/19/2011

As biodiversity declines worldwide, there is concern that this will lead to declines in the services that ecosystems provide for people, such as food production, carbon storage, and water purification. But until now it has been unclear, whether just a few or in fact a large number of the species in an ecosystem are needed to provide ecosystem services.

By combining data from 17 of the largest and longest-running biodiversity experiments, scientists from universities across North America and Europe have found that previous studies have underestimated the importance of biodiversity for maintaining multiple ecosystem services across many years and places.

"Most previous studies considered only the number of species needed to provide one service under one set of environmental conditions," says Prof. Michel Loreau from McGill University's biology department who supervised the study. "These studies found that many species appeared redundant. That is, it appeared that the extinction of many species would not affect the functioning of the ecosystem because other species could compensate for their loss."

Now, by looking at grassland plant species, investigators have found that most of the studied species were important at least once for the maintenance of ecosystem services, because different sets of species were important during different years, at different places, for different services, and under different global change (e.g., climate or land-use change) scenarios. Furthermore, the species needed to provide one service during multiple years were not the same as those needed to provide multiple services during one year. "This means that biodiversity is even more important for maintaining ecosystem services than was previously thought," says Dr. Forest Isbell, the lead author and investigator of this study. "Our results indicate that many species are needed to maintain ecosystem services at multiple times and places in a changing world, and that species are less redundant than was previously thought."

The scientists involved in the study also offer recommendations for using these results to prioritize conservation efforts and predict consequences of species extinctions. "It is nice to know which groups of species promoted ecosystem functioning under hundreds of sets of environmental conditions," says Isbell, "because this will allow us to determine whether some species often provide ecosystem services under environmental conditions that are currently common, or under conditions that will become increasingly common in the future." But Michel Loreau, of McGill, adds au cautionary note: "We should be careful when making predictions. The uncertainty over future environmental changes means that conserving as much biodiversity as possible could be a good precautionary approach."


'/>"/>

Contact: Katherine Gombay
katherine.gombay@mcgill.ca
514-398-2189
McGill University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. How to manage turfgrass while conserving water
2. Warming climate could give exotic grasses edge over natives
3. Switch from corn to grass would raise ethanol output, cut emissions
4. New study provides global analysis of seagrass extinction risk
5. Lawn of native grasses beats traditional lawn for lushness, weed resistance
6. Bioengineering with vetiver grass on Guam
7. Dairy farmer finds unusual forage grass
8. Notre Dame research offers important clues about grasshopper population explosions
9. New lignin lite switchgrass boosts biofuel yield by more than one-third
10. Biofuel grasslands better for birds than ethanol staple corn, researchers find
11. Turfgrass fertility, pesticide programs compared
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/9/2016)... innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction of fingerprint ... sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to even control the opening ... ... ... Photo ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... Das DOTM (Department ... hat ein 44 Millionen $-Projekt ... einschließlich Personalisierung, Registrierung und IT-Infrastruktur, an Decatur ... Implementierung von Identitätsmanagementlösungen. Zahlreiche renommierte internationale Anbieter ... aber Decatur wurde als konformste und innovativste ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... June 2, 2016 Perimeter Surveillance ... Unmanned Systems, Physical Infrastructure, Support & Other Service  ... visiongain offers comprehensive analysis of the global ... will generate revenues of $17.98 billion in 2016. ... Inc, a leader in software and hardware technologies for ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Charm Sciences, Inc. ... test has received AOAC Research Institute approval 061601. , “This is another AOAC-RI ... stated Bob Salter, Vice President of Regulatory and Industrial Affairs. “The Peel Plate ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ON (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS ... DNA Technical Leader at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as ... the STACS DNA team,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, the NASDAQ Composite ... Jones Industrial Average edged 0.27% lower to finish at 17,780.83; ... has initiated coverage on the following equities: Infinity Pharmaceuticals Inc. ... NKTR ), Aralez Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ARLZ ), ... more about these stocks by accessing their free trade alerts ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 ReportsnReports.com adds ... to its pharmaceuticals section with historic and forecast ... much more. Complete report on the ... profiling 15 companies and supported with 261 tables ... . The Global Cell Culture ...
Breaking Biology Technology: