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Category: Environment

11 Oct

What drives ecosystems to instability?

With only a little information, researchers can predict the circumstances under which an ecosystem will be stable or unstable Trying to decipher all of the factors that influence the behavior of complex ecological communities can be a daunting task. However, MIT researchers have now shown that the behavior of these ecosystems can be predicted based on just two pieces of information: the number of species in the community and how strongly they interact with each other. In studies of bacteria grown in the lab, the researchers were able to define three states of ecological communities, and calculated the conditions necessary for them to move from one state to another. These findings allowed the researchers to create a "phase diagram" for ecosystems, similar...
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1 Oct

Trees get overheated in a warmer rainforest

The ability of rainforests to store carbon can decrease in pace with climate change. This is due to photosynthesis rates in the leaves of rainforest species falling at higher temperatures and the trees' natural cooling systems failing during droughts. Increased heat threatens especially the species that store most carbon. This has been shown in a new thesis from the University of Gothenburg. Some species of trees are able to handle rising heat in the tropics by sucking up large quantities of water to their leaves and transpiring through wide-opened pores in their leaves. These are mainly fast-growing trees that establish themselves early as a rainforest grows up. The same cannot be said for the trees that make up the canopy of...
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