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

 

Gareth Morgan: The Government’s Fresh Water Policy – Revisited

Fresh water quality is the latest area to be in the sights of Gareth Morgan and his research organisation The Morgan Foundation... They found that the fresh water policy was a bit murkier than the Environment Minister let on. More>>

ALSO:

Interest Rates: RBNZ Hikes OCR To 3.5%, ‘Period Of Assessment’ Now Needed

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler raised the official cash rate as expected, while signalling a pause in rate hikes to assess the impact of moves so far this year. The kiwi dollar sank after Wheeler said its strength was “unjustified” and that the currency could have “a significant fall.” More>>

ALSO:

Fonterra: Canpac Site 'Resize' To Focus More On Paediatrics

Fonterra is looking at realigning its packing operations at Canpac, in the Waikato, to focus more on paediatric nutritionals... The proposed changes could mean around 110 roles may not be required at the site which currently employs 330. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Postie Plus Brand Gets 2nd Chance With Well-Funded Pepkor

The Postie Plus brand is getting a new lease of life after South Africa’s Pepkor bought the failed retailer’s assets out of administration and said it will use its purchasing power to reduce costs of stock and fatten margins. More>>

ALSO:

Warming: Warming Signs From State Of Climate Report

Climate data from air, land, sea and ice in 2013 'reflect trends of a warming planet' -- says the latest State of the Climate report, launched by U.S. and New Zealand scientists. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Embrace Falling Home Affordability, Says NZIER

Despair over the inability to afford a house is misplaced and should be embraced as an opportunity to invest in more wealth-creating activity, says the principal economist at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, Shamubeel Eaqub. More>>

Productivity Commission: NZ Regulation Not Keeping Pace

New Zealand regulators often have to work with out-of-date legislation, quality checks are under strain, and regulatory workers need better training and development. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

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