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:2/2/2016)... Checkpoint Inhibitors for Cancer – Explore ... you interested in the future of cancer drugs? ... Visiongain,s report gives those predictions to 2026 at ... Avoid falling behind in data or losing ... those emerging cancer therapies can achieve. There you ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... 1, 2016  Today, the first day of American ... to develop a first of its kind workplace health ... Watson. In the first application of Watson ... IBM ), and Welltok will create a new offering ... cognitive analytics, delivered on Welltok,s health optimization platform. The ...
(Date:1/25/2016)... 2016  Glencoe Software, the world-leading supplier of image ... will provide the data management solution OMERO Plus for ... Photo - ... Phenotypic analysis measures the characteristics and behavior ... between states such as health and disease, the presence ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... 10, 2016  Matchbook, Inc., a company specializing ... biotech companies, announced today the appointment of ... Jim brings nearly 25 years of experience in ... spent nearly two decades in executive level roles ... at Genzyme and, most recently headed global logistics ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , ... February 10, 2016 , ... LATHAM, NEW YORK... ... the SPIE Photonics West conference in San Francisco’s Moscone Center from February ... the same venue. , These latest InGaAs PIN diode standard packages feature a ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... available on Microsoft Azure. On Azure, Arvados provides capabilities for managing and processing ... demand for Microsoft Azure from major institutions collecting and analyzing genomic data,” said ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 09, 2016 , ... Creation Technologies, leading global provider ... Overall Customer Rating Award from Circuits Assembly , today announced its milestone achievement ... Canada, Mexico and China. , The EMS provider, known in the EMS industry ...
Breaking Biology Technology: