Nav: Home

Important to maintain a diversity of habitats in the sea

February 14, 2017

Researchers from University of Gothenburg and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) show that both species diversity and habitat diversity are critical to understand the functioning of ecosystems.

Marine shallow-water environments, where this research was performed, are highly productive systems organized into distinct habitats. There are sandy beaches and silty mud, areas covered by cyanobacterial mats and meadows of plants. They represent very different habitats for microorganisms, such as bacteria and microalgae. These microorganisms perform various functions. For example, they produce oxygen, reduce eutrophication by the retention of bioavailable nutrients, and their habitats serve as nurseries for fish.

Christian Alsterberg and co-workers investigated the relative importance of habitat diversity and microbial diversity for how coastal sediments function. Although the significance of these environments has been acknowledged before, the importance of the diversity of habitats for how well they function was investigated for the first time.

The researchers set up an experiment with sediment cores combined into model ecosystems with different habitat diversity. Ecosystems with two or more habitats scored better in functionality than single-habitat ecosystems. This effect on ecosystem functioning has previously been recognized when communities differ in species diversity. Here, Alsterberg and colleagues show that the concept also applies to the diversity of habitats.

Species and habitat diversity are both threatened by human activities. Habitat homogenization is commonly observed in many ecosystems worldwide. This study demonstrates that both species and habitat diversity are important to maintain a functional ecosystem and to predict feedbacks from natural and anthropogenic perturbations. A stronger focus on habitats could be relevant from a management perspective.
-end-
Science Advances, article: Alsterberg C, Roger F, Sundbäck K, Juhansson J, Hulth S, Hallin S, Gamfeldt L (2017) "Habitat diversity and ecosystem multifunctionality--The importance of direct and indirect effects". (http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/2/e1601475)

Contacts:

Christian Alsterberg
christian.alsterberg@biol.lu.se
+46-0-703-73-00-12

Lars Gamfeldt
lars.gamfeldt@marine.gu.se
+46-0-703-39-39-21

University of Gothenburg

Related Microorganisms Articles:

Lost in translation: Organic matter cuts plant-microbe links
Soil scientists from Cornell and Rice Universities have dug around and found that although adding carbon organic matter to agricultural fields is usually advantageous, it may muddle the beneficial underground communication between legume plants and microorganisms.
Montana State researcher harnesses microorganisms to make living building materials
Chelsea Heveran, assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, is the lead author of a new study showing that certain bacteria can be used to create an easily recyclable, concrete-like substance.
Crop residues are a potential source of beneficial microorganisms and biocontrol agents
While studies of the microbiomes (which comprises all the microorganisms, mainly bacteria and fungi) of the phyllosphere and the rhizosphere of plants are important, scientists at INRA believe more attention should be given to the microbiomes of crop residues.
Soil scientist researches nature versus nurture in microorganisms
Ember Morrissey, assistant professor of environmental microbiology at West Virginia University, uncovered that nature significantly affects how the tiny organisms under our feet respond to their current surroundings.
Microorganisms reduce methane release from the ocean
Bacteria in the Pacific Ocean remove large amounts of the greenhouse gas methane.
Microorganisms build the best fuel efficient hydrogen cells
With billions of years of practice, nature has created the most energy efficient machines.
How microorganisms protect themselves against free radicals
There are numerous different scenarios in which microorganisms are exposed to highly reactive molecules known as free radicals.
Scientists' warning to humanity: Microbiology and climate change
When it comes to climate change, ignoring the role of microorganisms could have dire consequences, according to a new statement issued by an international team of microbiologists.
Climate change could affect symbiotic relationships between microorganisms and trees
An international research consortium mapped the global distribution of tree-root symbioses with fungi and bacteria that are vital to forest ecosystems.
Microorganisms on microplastics
A recent study shows that that the potentially toxin-producing plankton species Pfiesteria piscicida prefers to colonize plastic particles, where they are found in 50 times higher densities than in the surrounding water of the Baltic Sea and densities about two to three times higher than on comparable wood particles floating in the water.
More Microorganisms News and Microorganisms Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.