Browsing All Posts filed under »plants«

Herbivory is important in freshwater systems

March 27, 2017

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Until the 1990s it was believed that, in the main, freshwater and marine plants were connected to aquatic food webs only indirectly, through the breakdown of decaying vegetation by decomposers. However, over the last two decades there’s been a growing realisation that the activities of aquatic herbivores in consuming plants and channeling the derived nutrients […]

Unravelling trends in stream nitrogen

March 27, 2017

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Oxides of nitrogen derived from agriculture, industry and emissions from the burning of fossil fuels fall out from the atmosphere and enter terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. Over the last century the deposition of reactive nitrogen has increased three to five times, and this is reflected in a general global increase in stream nitrogen concentrations. However, at […]

Homing in on factor interactions

March 27, 2017

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In most cases the dynamics of ecological systems are best explained as responses to a number of interacting environmental factors, rather than to a single variable. Such interactions can be complex, and although they may have major implications for management, they’re typically very poorly understood. A team of Australian researchers has proposed a method for […]

Floating times of riparian seeds

March 27, 2017

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Given the important role that the transport of water-borne seeds plays in the long-distance dispersal of riparian plants, surprisingly little is known about this process.   In laboratory experiments, a team of Australian and Chinese scientists measured the floating times of seeds collected from sixty species of Australian riparian plant species. Most species reached the test […]

Tree cover makes for lower fish diversity

March 27, 2017

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A pervasive feature of lowland streams, especially in areas where land has been cleared for agriculture or urban development, is a decrease in forested cover from the headwaters to the mouth. The presence or absence of streamside tree cover has a profound influence on stream ecology. Streams running through undisturbed forests typically contain large woody […]

Low biodiversity in productive lakes

December 13, 2016

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The over-supply of nutrients to lakes (through pollution, for example) stimulates the growth of plant plankton, which blocks light from reaching bottom-dwelling algae and higher plants. Therefore, nutrient excess has the potential to reduce habitat diversity and the associated biodiversity of animal plankton, macroinvertebrates and fish. An international team of biologists looked at the relationship […]

Emergent wetland plants as conduits for methane

December 13, 2016

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Wetlands release more methane to the atmosphere than other any other type of ecosystem and wetland plants, especially those in the shallow fringing zones, play an important role in methane dynamics. However, aquatic plants can be damaged by the grazing activities of herbivorous animals. To examine the impacts of grazing damage on the release of […]