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Report: diverse interaction between species holds key to stable ecosystems

Last modified November 30, 2012 09:57

REPORT: DIVERSE INTERACTIONS BETWEEN SPECIES HOLDS KEY TO STABLE ECOSYSTEMS.

A diverse range of interactions between species may hold the key to maintaining the balance of an ecological community, a team of researchers at the Japan Science and Technology Agency and Ryukoku University reported on July 20, 2012. According to the institutions, their research is the first in the world to look at how the diversity of interactions between species affects the stability of ecosystems.

In an ecosystem, organisms depend on a variety of interactions, such as mutualistic or antagonistic relations such as exploitation. Yet, the diversity of interactions between species and its impact on ecosystems have often been overlooked in past studies. The researchers focused on this concept and used a numerical model to evaluate how different interaction types contribute to the stability of an ecological community.

Conventional biological theory suggests that a complex ecosystem is inherently unstable. But the new results show that a rich variety of interaction types can contribute to maintaining species diversity, and a moderate mixture of antagonistic and mutualistic interactions can rather increase stability in ecosystem. The discovery shows potential in helping scientists to develop new methods and technologies to reverse biodiversity loss.

Source: Japan for Sustainability

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