Navigation Links
The star of Africa's savanna ecosystems may be the lowly termite
Date:5/25/2010

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The majestic animals most closely associated with the African savanna -- fierce lions, massive elephants, towering giraffes -- may be relatively minor players when it comes to shaping the ecosystem.

The real king of the savanna appears to be the termite, say ecologists who've found that these humble creatures contribute mightily to grassland productivity in central Kenya via a network of uniformly distributed colonies. Termite mounds greatly enhance plant and animal activity at the local level, while their even distribution over a larger area maximizes ecosystem-wide productivity.

The finding, published this week in the journal PLoS Biology, affirms a counterintuitive approach to population ecology: Often it's the small things that matter most.

"It's not always the charismatic predators -- animals like lions and leopards -- that exert the greatest control on populations," says Robert M. Pringle, a research fellow at Harvard University. "As E.O. Wilson likes to point out, in many respects it's the little things that run the world. In the case of the savanna, it appears these termites have tremendous influence and are central to the functioning of this ecosystem."

Prior research on the Kenya dwarf gecko initially drew Pringle's attention to the peculiar role of grassy termite mounds, which in this part of Kenya are some 10 meters in diameter and spaced some 60 to 100 meters apart. Each mound teems with millions of termites, who build the mounds over the course of centuries.

After observing unexpectedly high numbers of lizards in the vicinity of mounds, Pringle and his colleagues began to quantify ecological productivity relative to mound density. They found that each mound supported dense aggregations of flora and fauna: Plants grew more rapidly the closer they were to mounds, and animal populations and reproductive rates fell off appreciably with greater distance.

What was observe
'/>"/>

Contact: Steve Bradt
steve_bradt@harvard.edu
617-496-8070
Harvard University
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Savanna habitat drives birds, and perhaps others, to cooperative breeding
2. Lowly termite, not the lion or elephant, may be the star of Africas savanna
3. Study shows genetically engineered corn could affect aquatic ecosystems
4. Genetically engineered corn may harm stream ecosystems
5. At the root of nutrient limitation, ecosystems are not as different as they seem
6. Resilience concepts poised to aid management of coastal marine ecosystems
7. First map of threats to marine ecosystems shows all the worlds oceans are affected
8. Map is first to track global human influences on ocean ecosystems
9. Adapting local ecosystems can soften impact of global climate change
10. Rats on islands disrupt ecosystems from land to sea, researchers find
11. Small streams mitigate human influence on coastal ecosystems
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
The star of Africa's savanna ecosystems may be the lowly termite
(Date:8/1/2014)... have a more effective way to control the condition, ... the National University of Singapore (NUS). , The team, ... of Pharmacology at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School ... recent PhD graduate from the Saw Swee Hock School ... common herbal-based anti-malarial drug, can be used to control ...
(Date:7/31/2014)... study of bigeye tuna movements in the northwestern Atlantic ... Pelagics Research Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, ... wide geographical range with pronounced north-south movements from Georges ... high-use area off Cape Hatteras southwest of Bermuda for ... approach to study one of the most important commercial ...
(Date:7/31/2014)... 100 twin pairs have identified a gene mutation that may ... hours of sleep per night. The genetic variant also ... deprivation. , Results show that a participant with p.Tyr362His ... nightly sleep duration of only five hours, which was more ... for about six hours and five minutes per night. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):NUS study shows effectiveness of common anti-malarial drug in controlling asthma 2Study of bigeye tuna in Northwest Atlantic uses new tracking methods 2Study of bigeye tuna in Northwest Atlantic uses new tracking methods 3Study of twins discovers gene mutation linked to short sleep duration 2
... paleontologists have found fossilized burrows of tetrapods any land ... dating from the Early Triassic epoch, about 245 million years ... an overflowing river poured into the animals, burrows and hardened ... is about 14 inches long, 6 inches wide and 3 ...
... in Eastern Montana will now be able to chemically ... degrading begins. Paleontologists from Montana State University, North ... Natural Sciences recently bought and renovated a mobile laboratory ... for the summer. The lab is the first ...
... cell research, people are influenced by a number of ... many people. That,s the surprising finding ... who have spent the past two years studying public ... most recent issue of the International Journal of Public ...
Cached Biology News:Scientists find 245 million-year-old burrows of land vertebrates in Antarctica 2Dinosaur diggers bring mobile lab, new techniques to Eastern Montana 2Dinosaur diggers bring mobile lab, new techniques to Eastern Montana 3Scientific information largely ignored when forming opinions about stem cell research 2
(Date:8/1/2014)... , Aug. 1, 2014 One of ... rise of personalized medicine, which is the practice of ... treatments to a patient,s individual biology. Personalized diagnostics—laboratory analyses ... major role in the lab,s future. This fall, ... feature the latest science in this exciting field and ...
(Date:8/1/2014)... Once a decision has been made ... will discuss how to define your tolerance for lowest ... Allen, Senior Director of Facilities Integration at Fluor Industrial ... Industrial Services, and special guest Carrier Li, Director in ... as they provide an examination of the Conceptual Design ...
(Date:8/1/2014)... 01, 2014 Testing the mechanical ... a better understanding embryonic development. How and ... structurally and functionally distinct tissues is important because ... Prof. Todd McDevitt, Melissa Kinney, and Rabbia Saeed ... with biochemical cues to control many aspects of ...
(Date:7/31/2014)... CHICAGO , July 31, 2014 Nearly ... 65 th Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo ... The meeting featured never-before-seen breakthroughs in diagnostic research and ... treatment they need. As of Wednesday, July ... 2014 AACC Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo, with ...
Breaking Biology Technology:First-Ever AACC Virtual Conference to Focus on Personalized Diagnostics 2Defining Low Cost in Your Solution for Future Facilities, New Webinar for Pharma, Biotech, Medical Device and Healthcare Companies, Hosted by Xtalks 2Study Links Biomechanics and Gene Expression in Stem Cells 2Research on Digital Health, Alzheimer's, Ebola Draws Nearly 20,000 Attendees to 2014 AACC Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo 2Research on Digital Health, Alzheimer's, Ebola Draws Nearly 20,000 Attendees to 2014 AACC Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo 3
... Aug. 4 CryoLife, Inc. (NYSE: CRY ), ... Bruce G. Anderson has been promoted to vice president ... has been promoted to vice,president of international sales and ... vice president of worldwide sales and marketing.,Additionally, the company ...
... Neurobiological,Technologies, Inc. (NTI(R)) (Nasdaq: NTII ... royalty payment of approximately $2.1 million from ... for the treatment of,moderate-to-severe Alzheimer,s disease. Under ... royalty payments on certain,sales of Memantine by ...
... ALTO, Calif., Aug. 4 Anacor Pharmaceuticals,announced today that ... of Biological Research., "We are pleased to welcome ... President of Research at Anacor Pharmaceuticals. "Kurt,is a noted ... in,inflammation and his expertise will enrich our team as ...
Cached Biology Technology:CryoLife Announces Management Promotions 2CryoLife Announces Management Promotions 3Anacor Pharmaceuticals Appoints Dr. Kurt Jarnagin Vice President of Biological Research 2