Ecology Research

Ecology Research News -- ScienceDaily Learn about recent research into biodiversity reduction and how it affects ecosystems. Read news articles on coral bleaching, deforestation and wetland ecology.

  • Significant role for nitrate in the Arctic landscape
    on March 23, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Because of the very low nitrate levels found in arctic tundra soil, scientists had assumed that plants in this biome do not use nitrate. But a new study challenges this notion. The study has important implications for predicting which arctic plant species will dominate as the climate warms, as well as how much carbon tundra ecosystems can store. […]

  • Biodiversity and nature's contributions continue dangerous decline, scientists warn
    on March 23, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Biodiversity -- the essential variety of life forms on Earth -- continues to decline in every region of the world, significantly reducing nature's capacity to contribute to people's well-being. This alarming trend endangers economies, livelihoods, food security and the quality of life of people everywhere, according to four landmark science reports written by more than 550 leading experts, from over 100 countries. […]

  • Drought-induced changes in forest composition amplify effects of climate change
    on March 21, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    The face of American forests is changing, due to climate change-induced shifts in rainfall and temperature that are causing shifts in the abundance of numerous tree species, according to a new article. The result means some forests in the eastern U.S. are already starting to look different, but more important, it means the ability of those forests to soak up carbon is being altered as well, which could in turn bring about further climate change. […]

  • Vital role of marine predators in supplying nutrients to coral reef ecology
    on March 21, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    It's long been known that sharks help nourish coral reefs, but exactly to what extent has never been scientifically mapped out -- until now. […]

  • Insects could help us find new yeasts for big business
    on March 21, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    Yeasts are tiny fungi -- but they play key roles in producing everything from beer and cheese to industrial chemicals and biofuels. And now scientists are proposing a new approach that could help these industries find new yeasts for use in their manufacturing processes. […]

  • The problem of jaguars and space in western Paraguay
    on March 21, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    A recent study shows how researchers used GPS technology and new analytical techniques to produce the first rigorous estimates of jaguar spatial needs and movements in the Gran Chaco and Pantanal ecosystems of Paraguay. […]

  • How trees coexist: Understanding biodiversity
    on March 21, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    One of the most fascinating topics in ecology is the exploration of interactions between plants, specifically in long-lived organisms, such as trees. In this context, it is generally assumed that tree-tree interactions are dominated by competition for resources such as light, water or nutrients. […]

  • Seaweeds shelter calcifying marine life from acidifying oceans
    on March 21, 2018 at 1:26 pm

    Seaweeds create a chemical microenvironment at their surface, providing refuge for calcifying organisms that are at risk from decreasing oceanic pH, shows new research. […]

  • Marine researchers say recent sea star wasting disease epidemic defies prediction
    on March 20, 2018 at 6:13 pm

    Beginning in 2013, a mysterious disease crippled sea star populations up and down the U.S. west coast. Over a matter of months, many sea star species died in record-breaking numbers, though the ochre sea star was among the hardest hit. Now, researchers have analyzed just how much the populations of this species have declined, but they have not yet determined what factors might be contributing to the epidemic. […]

  • Amazon deforestation is close to tipping point
    on March 19, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Scientists considered climate change and indiscriminate use of fire to calculate that deforestation rates ranging from 20 percent to 25 percent could turn Amazon's hydrological cycle unable to support its ecosystem. […]

  • Soil fungi may help determine the resilience of forests to environmental change
    on March 16, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    A major new study reveals that soil fungi could play a significant role in the ability of forests to adapt to environmental change. […]

  • Reefs help protect vulnerable Caribbean fish from climate change
    on March 16, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    New research suggests that larger reef areas may help protect the Caribbean's coral reef fish communities from the impacts of ocean warming. […]

  • Coral reefs suffering in Philippines despite outlawing damaging fishing practices
    on March 16, 2018 at 2:03 pm

    Some of the fishing methods used in today's small-scale fisheries are causing more damage to coral reefs than ever, a new study has found. […]

  • When natural disaster strikes, can insects and other invertebrates recover?
    on March 15, 2018 at 6:07 pm

    After a 100-year flood struck south central Oklahoma in 2015, a study of the insects, arthropods, and other invertebrates in the area revealed striking declines of most invertebrates in the local ecosystem, a result that researchers say illustrates the hidden impacts of natural disasters. […]

  • Fussy eating prevents mongoose family feuds
    on March 15, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    Mongooses living in large groups develop 'specialist' diets so they don't have to fight over food, new research shows. […]

  • Coral reef experiment shows: Acidification from carbon dioxide slows growth
    on March 14, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    Ocean acidification will severely impair coral reef growth before the end of the century if carbon dioxide emissions continue unchecked. The paper represents the first ocean acidification experiment in which seawater was made artificially acidic by the addition of carbon dioxide and then allowed to flow across a natural coral reef community. The acidity of the seawater was increased to reflect end-of-century projections if carbon dioxide from greenhouse gas emissions are not abated. […]

  • Marine ecologists study the effects of giant kelp on groups of organisms in the underwater forest...
    on March 14, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    When British naturalist Charles Darwin traveled to the Galapagos Islands in 1835, he took notice of the giant kelp forests ringing the islands. He believed that if those forests were destroyed, a significant number of species would be lost. These underwater ecosystems, Darwin believed, could be even more important than forests on land. […]

  • Cash payments prompt tropical forest users to harvest less
    on March 14, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    An experiment conducted with 1,200 villagers in five developing countries found that when people are given cash to conserve, they cut down fewer trees both while they are being paid and after payments cease. […]

  • Male loggerhead turtles also go back to their nesting beaches to breed
    on March 14, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    Most male loggerhead turtles go back to the nesting beaches to breed –- a common behavior among female turtles --, according to a new study. […]

  • Wind moves microinvertebrates across desert
    on March 13, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    Research has yielded the first evidence of how waterborne microinvertebrates move across vast expanses of arid desert. A new study details for the first time how high desert winds disperse small invertebrates and how they colonize hydrologically disconnected basins throughout the region. […]

  • Predicting an insect community structure based on genomic variation in a tree species
    on March 13, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    Researchers have discovered a rule to predict an arthropod community structure based on the genomic variation in a foundation tree species. […]

  • Plants faring worse than monkeys in increasingly patchy forests of Costa Rica
    on March 12, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    A new study shows that cattle ranching, agriculture and other human activities breaking up Costa Rican forests into isolated patchy fragments, are causing more problems for native plant populations than for monkey species sharing the same habitat. […]

  • Elephant declines imperil Africa's forests
    on March 12, 2018 at 7:05 pm

    Poaching and habitat loss have reduced forest elephant populations in Central Africa by 63 percent since 2001. This poses consequences not only for elephants but also for the region's forests, a new study finds. Without intervention to stop poaching, as much as 96 percent of Central Africa's forests will undergo major changes in tree-species composition and structure as local populations of elephants disappear and surviving populations are crowded into ever-smaller forest remnants. […]

  • The Alps are home to more than 3,000 lichens
    on March 12, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    Widely used as biomonitors of air quality, forest health and climate change, lichens play a vital role. However, no overview of their diversity across the emblematic Alps had been provided up until recently, when an international team of lichenologists concluded their 15-year study. Their annotated checklist includes more than 3,000 lichens and presents a long-missed benchmark for scientists studying mountain systems around the globe. […]

  • A global conflict: agricultural production vs. biodiversity
    on March 7, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    Smart land-use planning could ease the conflict between agricultural production and nature conservation. A team of researchers has integrated global datasets on the geographical distributions and ecological requirements of thousands of animal species with detailed information on the production of the world ’s major agricultural crops. […]

  • Green spaces in cities help control floods, store carbon
    on March 6, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    A new study shows that urban green spaces like backyards, city parks and golf courses contribute substantially to the ecological fabric of our cities -- and the wider landscape -- and they need to be added to the data ecologists currently use when exploring big questions about our natural world. […]

  • Submerged aquatic vegetation return is sentinel of Chesapeake Bay ecosystem recovery
    on March 5, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    A new research article analyzes the positive impact of long-term nutrient reductions on an important and valuable ecosystem in the Chesapeake Bay. Scientists indicate the resurgence of underwater grasses supports nutrient reductions from EPA's Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) along with conservation incentives have resulted in a healthier Chesapeake Bay. […]

  • Impact of fishing fleets on the most threatened marine birds
    on March 5, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    Accidental by-catch –- which affects around 5,000 birds stuck in longlines every year -- is the most severe effect on marine birds by the fishing activity in the Mediterranean. The exploitation of fishing resources is threatening more and more the future of many marine birds with regression populations, such as Cory’s shearwater or the Balearic shearwater. […]

  • Tracking changes in fish communities
    on March 2, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    In a study spanning twelve years, researchers have developed a method to calculate the fluctuating stability of a natural ecological community in Maizuru Bay. […]

  • Payments to protect carbon stored in forests must increase to defend against rubber
    on March 2, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Efforts to protect tropical forests in Southeast Asia for the carbon they store may fail because protection payments are too low. A new study finds that schemes designed to protect tropical forests from clearance based on the carbon they store do not pay enough to compete financially with potential profits from rubber plantations. Without increased financial compensation for forest carbon credits, cutting forests down will remain more attractive than protecting them. […]