Tree species richness and its effects on productivity: neither global nor consistent

Guest post by Carsten Dormann (Uni Freiburg) / @CarstenDormann The relationship between species richness and ecosystem function is a field of ecology that has always puzzled me. I learned the scientific rope in a department of vegetation ecologists: vegetation was the result of environmental conditions, and indeed a substantial part of their research was to…

Advertisement

Fairy circles – a mystery solved?

Fairy circles are circular vegetation-free patches with diameters of a few meters that occur in arid regions of Africa, particularly in Namibia. There has been a great deal of discussion about their origin, with hypothesis ranging from termites over modification of the environment by certain plants to purely geological / physical mechanism such as wind…

Shaking Up Science

Last week’s Science issue had an interesting News Focus about “Two journal editors [that] take a hard look at honesty in science and question the ethos of their profession” With a bit too much pathos for my taste, but informative nevertheless, the article gives background on Ferric Fang and Arturo Casadevall, two microbiologists, and their…

Polar Bears Are an Old and Distinct Bear Lineage

Polar bears, by Alan D. Wilson (naturespicsonline.com: [1]) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons Here’s something for the lovers of cute fluffy white mammals: a new study in science lead by Frank Hailer uses nuclear markers to infer the time at which polar bears split up from their ancestral brown bear lineage. Previous analysis, based on…