How sensitive an ecosystem is to unforeseen environmental stress can be determined, according to Daniel Bruno, previous visiting researcher at Umeå University. The approach is to study how many species there are in an ecosystem and what proportion of these can replace species that are hard hit by environmental disturbances. Thanks to this new knowledge, we can predict how various ecosystems react to environmental disturbances, which is necessary to maintain these systems in a sustainable way.
With spring now fully sprung, a new study by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers shows that buds burst earlier in dense urban areas than in their suburban and rural surroundings. This may be music to urban gardeners' ears, but that tune could be alarming to some native and migratory birds and bugs.
While a lot is already known about plant perception, our ecological understanding of plants has largely focused on seeing plants as the sum of a series of building blocks or traits. A new special issue using Ideas from Behavioural Ecology to Understand Plants edited by JC Cahill of the University of Alberta, and published by AoB PLANTS gathers researchers who have taken a new approach, theorizing plant activity in terms of behavior.
As Iowa farmers have planted more acres of corn to meet the demand driven by the corn-based ethanol industry, many models predicted that nitrate concentrations in Iowa streams would increase accordingly. However, recent University of Iowa research based on water monitoring and published in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation casts doubt on these predictions.
UTA biologist Sophia Passy has shown that freshwater communities experienced significantly lower disparity between common and rare species in favorable, low-stress environments. Conversely, harsh stressful environments led to a decline in sensitive species and a greater disparity between common and rare species.
A new analysis of global data related to wildfire reveals major misconceptions about wildfire and its social and economic impacts. Professor Stefan Doerr and Dr. Cristina Santin from Swansea University's College of Science carried out detailed analysis of global and regional data on fire occurrence, severity and its impacts on society. They found that global area burned has seen an overall slight decline over past decades, despite some notable regional increases.
In a paper published online May 16, 2016, in Trends in Microbiology, researchers from the US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute call for the formation of a National Microbiome Data Center to efficiently manage the datasets accumulated globally. By integrating and harnessing all available microbiome data and metadata, researchers could conduct larger-scale comparative analyses in order to address global challenges related to energy, environment, health and agriculture.
English ivy's natural glue might hold the key to new approaches to wound healing, stronger armor for the military and maybe even cosmetics with better staying power.
Using biaxial tensile tests scientists compared mechanical properties of the skins of two sweet cherry cultivars. Assays confirmed that cracking was less rapid and occurred at higher water uptake in 'Regina' than in 'Burlat.' Tensile tests revealed that 'Regina' skin was stiffer and had a higher pressure at fracture than 'Burlat.' Results suggested that cell wall physical (and possibly also chemical) properties account for cultivar differences in skin mechanical properties, and thus in cracking susceptibility.
It's a win-win situation for the environment and the economy when it comes to introducing legumes into agricultural systems, says new research published in Frontiers in Plant Science, carried out by an international team of scientists as part of the European Union project, Legume Futures.