Do you want to know whether your ecosystem is in any danger of collapsing? Research by Jim van Belzen and co shows that you can give salt march ecosystems a small punch to check. Our method is outlined in Nature Communications, and is free to use for all!
New research together with colleagues from the US shows that the humble mussel and marsh grass form an intimate interaction that is critical to helping these ecosystems bounce back from die-off triggered by extreme climatic events such as drought. We published that in the latest issue of Nature Communication.
The original paper can be found here.
Have you ever wondered what a clump of mussels, a herd of grazers, or a spot of bacteria under the microscope have in common? All these aggregations follow from similar physical movement process, where organisms move a lot when alone, but move less when in aggregation.
We outline this new principle in a paper that just appeared online in Physics of Life Reviews, The paper was a collaboration with first author Quan-Xing Liu (a former PhD student of mine) Max Rietkerk, Peter Herman, John Fryxell, and Theunis Piersma.
Pdf: Link to Liu’s Researchgate.
(Elk photo is from: https://chrisandmattcycleacrossamerica.wordpress.com)
Planting marsh grass in clumps may contribute considerably to the recovery of salt meadows and marshes. This is one of the results of a joint research project by Duke University in the US and the NIOZ Royal Dutch Institute for Sea Research, which was published in the leading scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.
See the press release: link to the NIOZ Website.
The publication: Link to PNAS.
For all that like programming, I have uploaded a number of my OpenCL (c++) codes for implementing spatially-explicit ecological models on GPUs on “Github”, a programming code repository: https://JohanvandeKoppel.github.io .
Whether you look at a square centimeter or at a square kilometer, nature always reveals the most interesting patterns. It is this complexity at all spatial scales that makes nature different from many if not all human creations. Our latest research on mussel beds reveals that this many-scale complexity actually makes ecosystems very strong and resilient. Read more about it in the (Dutch) press release or in the actual paper!
Consumer fronts, a common phenomenon in nature that occur in many different ecosystems, can trigger runaway ecosystem degradation and regime shifts. My latest review paper, together with Brian Silliman, just appeared in Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics; click here.