Im­pact­ing ecol­ogy

Down to Earth - - SCIENCE -

NU­TRI­ENT POL­LU­TION can cre­ate an im­bal­ance in the in­ter­ac­tions be­tween part­ner—also known as mu­tu­al­is­tic—species across a va­ri­ety of ecosys­tems. Re­searchers say the blame squarely lies with ni­tro­gen fer­tilis­ers and fos­sil-fuel com­bus­tion. They say hu­mans have short-cir­cuited the tight re­cy­cling of nu­tri­ents be­tween mu­tu­al­is­tic species, and this in turn, has changed the bal­ance of how such part­ners in­ter­act. Analysing data from more than 300 dif­fer­ent ex­per­i­ments, they found the same pat­tern oc­cur­ring across con­ti­nents and var­i­ous ocean lo­ca­tions. Ecol­ogy Letters, Jan­uary 2016

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