Reduced predator populations lead to algal blooms

Algal blooms are a phenomenon in which algal populations in a marine area proliferate rapidly, creating a water-column shield that blocks sunlight and oxygen. These blooms are usually attributed to rises in nitrogen levels from human agriculture and industrial runoff, which fertilize the algae. But a study in the current issue of Ecological Applications shows that overfishing of top fish predators can also lead to algal blooms....

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A better diversity index?

A paper out online in the August issue of Ecology Letters presents a new index for estimating biodiversity. John Harte of UC Berkeley and his colleagues have developed a method that they say yields more precise measures of biodiversity than classic indices, such as Simpson’s and Shannon’s diversity indices. In an argument similar (but reversed) to that for quantum physics, Harte explains that fractal geometry helps to...

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