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Note: Content may be edited for style and length. Science News. Story Source: Materials provided by University of York. Journal Reference : Andrew J. Suggitt, Duncan G.

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Lister, Chris D. Current Biology , ; DOI: ScienceDaily, 15 August University of York.

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Climate change 'disrupts' local plant diversity, study reveals. Retrieved September 21, from www. It is a seemingly inhospitable climate, but native plants have found But, according to new evidence, it appears that the change has so far been good for cephalopods, People invested Below are relevant articles that may interest you. Loss of ecosystem functions, and the services derived from them, however, occurs long before global extinction.

Often, when the functioning of a local ecosystem has been pushed beyond a certain limit by direct or indirect biodiversity alterations, the ecosystem-service losses may persist for a very long time C Changes in biotic interactions among species—predation, parasitism, competition, and facilitation—can lead to disproportionately large, irreversible, and often negative alterations of ecosystem processes. In addition to direct interactions, such as predation, parasitism, or facilitation, the maintenance of ecosystem processes depends on indirect interactions as well, such as a predator preying on a dominant competitor such that the dominant is suppressed, which permits subordinate species to coexist.

Interactions with important consequences for ecosystem services include pollination; links between plants and soil communities , including mycorrhizal fungi and nitrogen-fixing microorganisms; links between plants and herbivores and seed dispersers; interactions involving organisms that modify habitat conditions beavers that build ponds, for instance, or tussock grasses that increase fire frequency ; and indirect interactions involving more than two species such as top predators, parasites, or pathogens that control herbivores and thus avoid overgrazing of plants or algal communities C Many changes in ecosystem services are brought about by the removal or introduction of organisms in ecosystems that disrupt biotic interactions or ecosystem processes.

Because the network of interactions among species and the network of linkages among ecosystem processes are complex, the impacts of either the removal of existing species or the introduction of new species are difficult to anticipate C See Table 1. Table 1. As in terrestrial and aquatic communities , the loss of individual species involved in key interactions in marine ecosystems can also influence ecosystem processes and the provisioning of ecological services.

For example, coral reefs and the ecosystem services they provide are directly dependent on the maintenance of some key interactions between animals and algae. As one of the most species-rich communities on Earth, coral reefs are responsible for maintaining a vast storehouse of genetic and biological diversity. Substantial ecosystem services are provided by coral reefs—such as habitat construction, nurseries, and spawning grounds for fish; nutrient cycling and carbon and nitrogen fixing in nutrient - poor environments; and wave buffering and sediment stabilization.

The total economic value of reefs and associated services is estimated as hundreds of millions of dollars. Yet all coral reefs are dependent on a single key biotic interaction: symbiosis with algae. Biodiversity affects key ecosystem processes in terrestrial ecosystems such as biomass production , nutrient and water cycling, and soil formation and retention—all of which govern and ensure supporting services high certainty. The relationship between biodiversity and supporting ecosystem services depends on composition, relative abundance, functional diversity , and, to a lesser extent, taxonomic diversity.

If multiple dimensions of biodiversity are driven to very low levels, especially trophic or functional diversity within an ecosystem, both the level and stability for instance, biological insurance of supportive services may decrease CF2 , C Region-to-region differences in ecosystem processes are driven mostly by climate, resource availability, disturbance, and other extrinsic factors and not by differences in species richness high certainty.

In natural ecosystems , the effects of abiotic and land use drivers on ecosystem services are usually more important than changes in species richness. Plant productivity , nutrient retention, and resistance to invasions and diseases sometimes grow with increasing species numbers in experimental ecosystems that have been reduced to low levels of biodiversity.

In natural ecosystems, however, these direct effects of increasing species richness are usually overridden by the effects of climate, resource availability, or disturbance regime C Even if losses of biodiversity have small short-term impacts on ecosystem function, such losses may reduce the capacity of ecosystems for adjustment to changing environments that is, ecosystem stability or resilience, resistance, and biological insurance high certainty.

The loss of multiple components of biodiversity, especially functional and ecosystem diversity at the landscape level, will lead to lowered ecosystem stability high certainty. Although the stability of an ecosystem depends to a large extent on the characteristics of the dominant species such as life span, growth rate, or regeneration strategy , less abundant species also contribute to the long-term preservation of ecosystem functioning.

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  6. As tragically illustrated by social conflict and humanitarian crisis over droughts, floods, and other ecosystem collapses, stability of ecosystems underpins most components of human well-being , including health , security, satisfactory social relations, and freedom of choice and action C6 ; see also Key Question 2.

    The preservation of the number, types, and relative abundance of resident species can enhance invasion resistance in a wide range of natural and semi-natural ecosystems medium certainty. Although areas of high species richness such as biodiversity hot spots are more susceptible to invasion than species- poor areas, within a given habitat the preservation of its natural species pool appears to increase its resistance to invasions by non-native species.

    This is also supported by evidence from several marine ecosystems, where decreases in the richness of native taxa were correlated with increased survival and percent cover of invading species C Pollination is essential for the provision of plant-derived ecosystem services , yet there have been worldwide declines in pollinator diversity medium certainty.

    Many fruits and vegetables require pollinators, thus pollination services are critical to the production of a considerable portion of the vitamins and minerals in the human diet. Although there is no assessment at the continental level, documented declines in more-restricted geographical areas include mammals lemurs and bats, for example and birds hummingbirds and sunbirds, for instance , bumblebees in Britain and Germany, honeybees in the United States and some European countries, and butterflies in Europe.

    The causes of these declines are multiple, but habitat destruction and the use of pesticide are especially important.

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    Estimates of the global annual monetary value of pollination vary widely, but they are in the order of hundreds of billions of dollars C Biodiversity influences climate at local, regional, and global scales, thus changes in land use and land cover that affect biodiversity can affect climate. The important components of biodiversity include plant functional diversity and the type and distribution of habitats across landscapes.

    For example, forests have higher evapotranspiration than other ecosystems, such as grasslands, because of their deeper roots and greater leaf area. Thus forests have a net moistening effect on the atmosphere and become a moisture source for downwind ecosystems. In addition to biodiversity within habitats, the diversity of habitats in a landscape exerts additional impacts on climate across multiple scales. This air is replaced by cooler moister air that flows laterally from adjacent patches advection.

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    Climate models suggest that these landscape-level effects can substantially modify local-to-regional climate. In Western Australia, for example, the replacement of native heath vegetation by wheatlands increased regional albedo. As a result, air tended to rise over the dark more solar-absorptive and therefore warmer heathland, drawing moist air from the wheatlands to the heathlands. Some components of biodiversity affect carbon sequestration and thus are important in carbon-based climate change mitigation when afforestation, reforestation, reduced deforestation, and biofuel plantations are involved high certainty.

    Biodiversity affects carbon sequestration primarily through its effects on species characteristics, which determine how much carbon is taken up from the atmosphere assimilation and how much is released into it decomposition, combustion. Particularly important are how fast plants can grow, which governs carbon inputs, and woodiness, which enhances carbon sequestration because woody plants tend to contain more carbon, live longer, and decompose more slowly than smaller herbaceous plants.

    Plant species also strongly influence carbon loss via decomposition and their effects on disturbance.

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    Plant traits also influence the probability of disturbances such as fire, windthrow, and human harvest, which temporarily change forests from accumulating carbon to releasing it C The major importance of marine biodiversity in climate regulation appears to be via its effect on biogeochemical cycling and carbon sequestration.

    The ocean, through its sheer volume and links to the terrestrial biosphere, plays a huge role in cycling of almost every material involved in biotic processes. Of these, the anthropogenic effects on carbon and nitrogen cycling are especially prominent. Biodiversity influences the effectiveness of the biological pump that moves carbon from the surface ocean and sequesters it in deep waters and sediments.

    Some of the carbon that is absorbed by marine photosynthesis and transferred through food webs to grazers sinks to the deep ocean as fecal pellets and dead cells. The efficiency of this trophic transfer and therefore the extent of carbon sequestration is sensitive to the species richness and composition of the plankton community C The maintenance of natural pest control services, which benefits food security, rural household incomes, and national incomes of many countries, is strongly dependent on biodiversity. Yields of desired products from agroecosystems may be reduced by attacks of animal herbivores and microbial pathogens, above and below ground, and by competition with weeds.

    Increasing associated biodiversity with low- diversity agroecosystems, however, can enhance biological control and reduce the dependency and costs associated with biocides. Moreover, high-biodiversity agriculture has cultural and aesthetic value and can reduce many of the externalized costs of irrigation, fertilizer, pesticide, and herbicide inputs associated with monoculture agriculture C The marine microbial community provides critical detoxification services, but how biodiversity influences them is not well understood. There is very little information on how many species are necessary to provide detoxification services, but these services may critically depend on one or a few species.

    Some marine organisms provide the ecosystem service of filtering water and reducing effects of eutrophication. For example, American oysters in Chesapeake Bay were once abundant but have sharply declined—and with them, their filtering ecosystem services. Areas like the Chesapeake might have much clearer water if large populations of filtering oysters could be reintroduced. Some marine microbes can degrade toxic hydrocarbons, such as those in an oil spill, into carbon and water, using a process that requires oxygen. Thus this service is threatened by nutrient pollution, which generates oxygen deprivation C This summary is free and ad-free, as is all of our content.

    Plant Diversity (The Green World)

    You can help us remain free and independant as well as to develop new ways to communicate science by becoming a Patron! Languages: English [en]. Next Question. Biodiversity: What is it, where is it, and why is it important? The source document for this Digest states: Biodiversity is the variability among living organisms from all sources, including terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species , between species, and of ecosystems. Biodiversity forms the foundation of the vast array of ecosystem services that critically contribute to human well-being.

    Biodiversity is important in human-managed as well as natural ecosystems. Decisions humans make that influence biodiversity affect the well-being of themselves and others. Measuring Biodiversity : Species Richness and Indicators In spite of many tools and data sources, biodiversity remains difficult to quantify precisely. Figure 1.