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Old 08-18-2016, 11:08 AM   #1
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Default Biodiversity required within all trophic groups

Insect and microorganism diversity is complex and extensive and this is just the beginning of a long and complicated task for many seeking to understand how it all works as a system.



https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...0817142755.htm

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A 60-strong research team, led by Dr. Santiago Soliveres from the University of Bern, therefore studied all groups in a grassland food chain for the first time. They collected data on a total of 4600 species of animal and plant from nine trophic groups, including often neglected ones such as micro-organisms in the soil and insects that live in the soil or on the plants. "The data was collected as part of a programme supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in 150 grasslands across Germany, the so called 'Biodiversity Exploratories'," says Professor Wolfgang Weisser of the Chair for Terrestrial Ecology at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) -- "it constitutes the most extensive ecological sampling in Europe."
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"Working out how different groups affect ecosystem services is like trying to solve a very complicated puzzle but with our extensive data we are able to put together a coherent picture of how important individual groups are for fourteen ecosystem services. Each ecosystem service is dependent on at least three groups and the higher the number of species within the group, the more reliably the ecosystem service is provided. In addition, each individual group influences at least one ecosystem service," Soliveres, lead author for the study, summarises the results.
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The importance of biological diversity for ecosystem services has been underestimated
"If biodiversity is rapidly destroyed, what consequences does this have for humans? What courses of action are available? Thus far, there has been insufficient research into this, which is one of the reasons why the international biodiversity council IPBES was founded," explains Prof. Markus Fischer from the Institute of Plant Science at the University of Bern and head of the Biodiversity Exploratories project. This study also shows that the importance of biological diversity has been underestimated because previous research only focussed on individual trophic groups: "Our extensive research programme demonstrates how important it is to study the broader context and that there is a need for action to protect ecosystems," summarises Fischer.
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Technical University of Munich (TUM). Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:
1. Santiago Soliveres, Fons van der Plas, Peter Manning, Daniel Prati, Martin M. Gossner, Swen C. Renner, Fabian Alt, Hartmut Arndt, Vanessa Baumgartner, Julia Binkenstein, Klaus Birkhofer, Stefan Blaser, Nico Blüthgen, Steffen Boch, Stefan Böhm, Carmen Börschig, Francois Buscot, Tim Diekötter, Johannes Heinze, Norbert Hölzel, Kirsten Jung, Valentin H. Klaus, Till Kleinebecker, Sandra Klemmer, Jochen Krauss, Markus Lange, E. Kathryn Morris, Jörg Müller, Yvonne Oelmann, Jörg Overmann, Esther Pašalić, Matthias C. Rillig, H. Martin Schaefer, Michael Schloter, Barbara Schmitt, Ingo Schöning, Marion Schrumpf, Johannes Sikorski, Stephanie A. Socher, Emily F. Solly, Ilja Sonnemann, Elisabeth Sorkau, Juliane Steckel, Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, Barbara Stempfhuber, Marco Tschapka, Manfred Türke, Paul C. Venter, Christiane N. Weiner, Wolfgang W. Weisser, Michael Werner, Catrin Westphal, Wolfgang Wilcke, Volkmar Wolters, Tesfaye Wubet, Susanne Wurst, Markus Fischer, Eric Allan. Biodiversity at multiple trophic levels is needed for ecosystem multifunctionality. Nature, 2016; DOI: 1. 10.1038/nature19092

Technical University of Munich (TUM). "Flowering meadows benefit humankind: Greater biodiversity in grasslands leads to higher levels of ecosystem services." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 August 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160817142755.htm>.
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Old 08-19-2016, 08:44 PM   #2
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I cannot fathom the complexities involved but I am glad that research continues to add to our understanding.

I have wondered about microorganisms in my soil. I hope that the more natives that I plant, the more leaves (of native trees, shrubs, and other biomass) that decompose, the more the conditions will favor the appropriate microorganisms. Of course, I have to wonder which came first, the chicken or the egg...it seems likely that having native, diverse soil microorganisms provides prime conditions for native plants--especially specialists/conservative species. I'm assuming having all (or most) of the pieces of the puzzle in place will provide the conditions required.

I am pleased when I see various fungus species coming up in our yard--I'm hopeful that it is a sign that our soil conditions are becoming more and more hospitable to the natives I wish to add and the fauna (at each trophic level) that I want to support

I am also pleased to see predatory insects in the yard (not that I like to think about the suffering that happens in nature). It makes me feel like I'm doing something right.

One more random thought that this post evoked: I have said for a few years now that, although planting (native) trees, I feel it is very important to plant native meadows including the less spectacular natives that often go overlooked. Everyone knows to plant trees; we even have Earth Day and Arbor Day...I don't want to diminish that (especially when Douglas Tallamy tells us the importance of these trees)....but, as your post suggests, we need to support each part of the ecosystem, not just the trees.

(I hope my rambling, stream-of-consciousness response isn't too off target.
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Old 09-20-2016, 02:44 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by dapjwy View Post

(I hope my rambling, stream-of-consciousness response isn't too off target.)

Perfectly on target. Just the kind of responsive thinking such an article should evoke.

We have gardened on this property for 15 years. The decomposing wood and diverse plant materials creating the huge amount of biomass generated within this average urban garden has made such a difference in the soil.
Our gardens used to flood yearly under heavy rains. Now deep roots, plant communities of varied levels and the abundance of decomposing organic materials has created a soil that absorbs water quickly even in the heaviest ,longest rains.

Species of insects and birds and other small creatures have increased or decreased over the years (such as more fireflies less slugs, more dragonflies less mosquitoes, more wasps and flower flies less aphids and other pests. ) so hopefully goes the balancing act of the microbial herd too small to easily monitor.
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Old 09-20-2016, 07:19 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Gloria View Post
Perfectly on target. Just the kind of responsive thinking such an article should evoke.
Thank you.

...that's a relief. ~smile~

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Originally Posted by Gloria View Post
We have gardened on this property for 15 years. The decomposing wood and diverse plant materials creating the huge amount of biomass generated within this average urban garden has made such a difference in the soil.
Our gardens used to flood yearly under heavy rains. Now deep roots, plant communities of varied levels and the abundance of decomposing organic materials has created a soil that absorbs water quickly even in the heaviest ,longest rains.

Species of insects and birds and other small creatures have increased or decreased over the years (such as more fireflies less slugs, more dragonflies less mosquitoes, more wasps and flower flies less aphids and other pests. ) so hopefully goes the balancing act of the microbial herd too small to easily monitor.
What a great success story!

Seeing such a dramatic change in an area that used to flood amazes me. I love the potential we all have to improve and enhance the areas where we garden or add native restorations.

I can't wait until I have dramatic changes to share.
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Old 09-22-2016, 09:58 AM   #5
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I've been topping off my beds with chopped leaves for the past two years. I really like the natural appearance and nutrients it adds to the beds along with the fact that they somewhat suppress the weeds-seeds from sprouting.

I ran into another round of free mulch so added quite a few bins of that to the areas I wanted to bring up in height. Another natural additive. With the rain...tiny mushrooms have sprouted from it. Yesterday while moving from source to my yard a sphinx moth flew from the heap. Do they use the substrate in some way? Lay eggs in it?
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Old 09-29-2016, 01:06 PM   #6
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Sphinx moths all pupate underground, which a thick layer of mulch might work for. I frequently find beetle larvae and pupae in my mulch and one year I had skinks laying eggs in y mulch.

I read an interesting article a few months ago discussing earthworms, which we all applaud for aerating soil. Almost all species in NA are non-native, and it isn't clear how beneficial they are vs the native species they have displaced.

I leave all my garden cuttings either in place or in several compost piles. I let my leaves compost in place in most of my woods and I now have much better soil than when I moved in. I have to believe that this has increased the biodiversity on many levels.

Dap, I also love finding cool new mushroom species coming up.
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Old 09-30-2016, 07:33 PM   #7
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Yesterday while moving from source to my yard a sphinx moth flew from the heap.
I'd be interested in what kind of sphinx moth that was. Very weird to me that one would be out this time of year in Michigan because I know of no sphinxes that overwinter as adults, eggs, or caterpillars. Might have to figure out what sphinxes live in MI and look up their life stories in the sphinx moth bible.
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Old 10-25-2016, 01:52 PM   #8
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What is the Sphinx moth bible? I am always looking for cool books!

Maybe it was a tomato hornworm moth. Their lifecycle so have got to have been screwed up by human propagation of their host plant. Just a thought with no research to back it up.

I have a goldfinch fledgling still begging for food from its parent this week, which is really late. Climate change is likely influencing life cycles of insects and birds.
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Old 10-30-2016, 10:40 PM   #9
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Dap, I also love finding cool new mushroom species coming up.
It might be my imagination, but I think know I am seeing more mushrooms and more varieties as the years go by. I like to think that I am managing the property more naturally than the previous owner...and that this is one of the results.
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Old 11-11-2016, 10:39 AM   #10
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What is the Sphinx moth bible? I am always looking for cool books!

Maybe it was a tomato hornworm moth. Climate change is likely influencing life cycles of insects and birds.
Hmmmm now you have me wondering but I haven't a photo to look back into.
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