Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Searching for ecology’s Holy Grail


31 October 2012

Searching for ecology’s Holy Grail

A University of Waikato researcher is working on a model to predict where plant species grow and how they will react to climate change.

“The potential of predicting species abundances has generated tremendous interest, inspired vigorous debate, and has been heralded as the Holy Grail of ecology,” says Waikato ecologist Dr Daniel Laughlin.

“The litmus test of a scientific theory is its ability to predict what is observed in nature. Predicting species abundances is crucial given the urgent need to understand the rate and direction of species migration in a rapidly changing world.”

He received a $345,000 Marsden Fund research grant and will spend the next three-years collecting data in collaboration with Landcare Research.
His team will initially test the model at Puketī Forest, near Kerikeri, by measuring leaf and wood properties and then compare model predictions to what they observe in the bush.

In the second stage his team will collect leaf and wood trait data from common trees around the entire country, to gain a better understanding of how trees may respond to shifts in climate from the coasts to the mountains.

“The model will test fundamental assumptions about what we think we know about how plant communities assemble. This project will advance our understanding of the ecological processes that drive the distribution and abundance of organisms.”

The Marsden Fund is administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand on behalf of the Marsden Fund Council, and funded by the New Zealand Government. It supports projects in the sciences, technology, engineering and maths, social sciences and the humanities.

The University of Waikato won six Marsden Fund grants.
ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Scoop Business: NZ Govt Operating Deficit Smaller Than Expected

The New Zealand’s government’s operating deficit was smaller than expected in the first five months of the financial year as a clampdown on expenditure managed to offset a shortfall in the tax-take from last month’s forecast. More>>

ALSO:

0.8 Percent Annually:
NZ Inflation Falls Below RBNZ's Target

New Zealand's annual pace of inflation slowed to below the Reserve Bank's target band in the final three months of the year, giving governor Graeme Wheeler more room to keep the benchmark interest rate lower for longer.More>>

ALSO:

NASA, NOAA: Find 2014 Warmest Year In Modern Record

Since 1880, Earth’s average surface temperature has warmed by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius), a trend that is largely driven by the increase in carbon dioxide and other human emissions into the planet’s atmosphere. The majority of that warming has occurred in the past three decades. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: New Zealand’s Reserve Bank Named Central Bank Of The Year

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand’s efforts to stifle house price inflation by using new policy tools has seen the institution named Central Bank of the year by Central Banking Publications, a publisher specialising in global central banking practice. More>>

ALSO:

Science Media Centre: Viral Science And Another 'Big Dry'?

"Potentially, if there is no significant rainfall for the next month or so, we could be heading into one of the worst nation-wide droughts we’ve seen for some time," warns NIWA principal climate scientist Dr Andrew Tait. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news