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

 


Non-native species not the bad guys in a changing eco-system

Non-native species not the bad guys in a changing eco-system

April 17, 2014

University of Canterbury researchers are investigating some positive features of animals being introduced to New Zealand.

Exotic animals are generally considered to be a major threat to native species in New Zealand and worldwide.

Despite numerous examples of invasive species harming ecosystems, exotic species may actually be able to fill ecological gaps in their new home, such as those left by native species that have gone extinct.

Professor Jason Tylianakis says this is one of the first examples of exotic species filling the roles left by declining natives across a whole range of species.

"A collaborative research project between scientists at the University of Canterbury and University of Oviedo, Spain, has examined the role of exotic birds in dispersing the seeds of native New Zealand trees and shrubs.

"Many fruiting plants require birds to carry their seeds to new locations and drive the persistence and recovery of native forests.

"New Zealand fruit-feeding birds have historically suffered a strong decline of native birds but they have also gained new fruit-eaters in the form of introduced European birds such as blackbirds and song thrushes."

The Canterbury researchers studied the network of feeding interactions between different species of plants and birds in the North and South Islands. They found that the intermediate body and beak size of exotic birds allowed them to feed on a great variety of different fruits.

This allowed the birds to disperse seeds of plant species that were not frequently eaten by native birds at any given location and helped to stabilise seed dispersal across a whole range of plants.

Without introduced species, many native plants would not have their fruits eaten and their seeds would simply fall to the ground below the tree.

Another Canterbury researcher Dr Daniel Stouffer says exotic species were less discriminating in their fruit consumption patterns.

"Native fruit-eaters have developed strong affinities for or against consumption of particular native fruit species making our native communities vulnerable to loss of key bird species. On the contrary, the exotic species were more than happy to make equal use of all the fruits available, thereby spreading their benefit more widely."

Professor Tylianakis says people often consider invasions by non-native species as always being harmful.

"However, many of our native species have already gone extinct and sometimes we need new species to fill their role. Although they often do harm, we can’t always assume that non-native species are the bad guys in our constantly-changing ecosystems,” Professor Tylianakis says.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Company Results: Air NZ Rides The Tourism Boom With Record Full-Year Earnings

Air New Zealand has ridden the tourism boom and staved off increased competition to deliver the best full-year earnings in its 76-year history. More>>

ALSO:

New PGP: Sheep Milk Industry Gets $12.6M Crown Funding

The Sheep - Horizon Three programme aims to develop "a market driven, end-to-end value chain generating annual revenues of between $200 million and $700 million by 2030," according to a joint statement. More>>

ALSO:

Half Full: Fonterra Raises Forecast Milk Price

Fonterra Co-operative Group Limited today increased its 2016/17 forecast Farmgate Milk Price by 50 cents to $4.75 per kgMS. When combined with the forecast earnings per share range for the 2017 financial year of 50 to 60 cents, the total payout available to farmers in the current season is forecast to be $5.25 to $5.35 before retentions. More>>

ALSO:

Keep Digging: Seabed Ironsands Miner TransTasman Tries Again

The first company to attempt to gain a resource consent to mine ironsands from the ocean floor in New Zealand's Exclusive Economic Zone has lodged a new application containing fresh scientific and other evidence it hopes will persuade regulators after their initial application was turned down in 2014. More>>

Wool Pulled: Duvets Sold As ‘Premium Alpaca’ Mostly Sheep’s Wool

Rotorua business Budge Collection Limited (Budge) and sole director, Sun Dong Kim, were convicted and fined a total of $71,250 in Auckland District Court after each pleading guilty to four charges of misrepresenting how much alpaca fibre was in their duvets. More>>

Reserve Bank: Labour Calls For Monetary Policy To Expand Goals

Labour's comments follow a speech today by RBNZ governor Graeme Wheeler in which Wheeler sought to answer critics who variously say he should stop lowering interest rates, lower them faster, or that inflation-targeting should no longer be the primary goal of the central bank's activities. More>>

ALSO:

BSA Extension And Sunday Morning Ads: Digital Convergence Bill Captures Online Content

Broadcasting Minister Amy Adams has today announced the Government’s plans to update the Broadcasting Act to better reflect today’s converged market... The Government considered four areas as part of its review into content regulation: classification requirements, advertising restrictions, election programming and contestable funding. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news