Managing non-native invasive plants

 This post contributed by Terence Houston, ESA Science Policy Analyst Many invasive species can have a domino effect of throwing an entire ecosystem off balance by diminishing native plant or animal species that function as an important resource for both natural ecosystems and human communities. According to the Nature Conservancy, the estimated damage from invasive species worldwide totals over $1.4 trillion, five percent of the...

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When it comes to economics, diversity is key

A study published this week in Nature compared the U.S. economic downturn with a current ecological issue: a decline in biodiversity. In the study, economist Andrew Haldane of the Bank of England and zoologist Robert May of Oxford University basically described the financial system as having similar weaknesses as a monoculture. That is, if all banks are run equally, they are more susceptible to a uniform crisis; much in the way that a...

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The silent force in the food web

Addition of parasites (red spheres) visibly increases connectivity of species in this representation of an Arctic food web. Studies of food webs fascinate community ecologists. There seems to be a never-ending supply of interactions to observe, analyze and use in predictions. From the largest apex predators, feeding once a week, to the smallest alga, constantly converting sunlight to energy, there’s a kind of wonder in the idea...

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