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Posts Tagged ‘food-webs’

Researchers working in Papua New Guinea have analysed rainforest plant-herbivore interactions and found that an average of 251 herbivore (plant eating) species are associated with each rainforest tree species, 48 of which feed exclusively on that single tree species. With around 200 tree species in the lowland rainforest studied, this means the trees interact with somewhere in the region of 9,600 herbivorous insect species, which is staggering.

 Rainforest (thanks to tauntingpanda)Although these results used a fair amount of extrapolation of collected data from a limited research site and number of tree species, the research highlights the complexity of food-webs and inter-species relationships, particularly in ecosystems as species-rich as rainforests, and illustrates the huge number of species affected by the loss of each felled tree.

References

Novotny V et al 2010. Guild-specific patterns of species richness and host specialization in plant-herbivore food webs from a tropical forest. Journal of Animal Ecology 79: 1193-1203

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