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Genes make the marsh

ower the tannin levels, suggesting the "tastier wood" that the beavers preferred was due to a specific genotype.

"In contrast to the idea that plant genetics effects become weaker at the population, community, and ecosystem level, these results suggest that beavers may indirectly influence many aspects of cottonwood-stands, including genotype, age structure, and the distribution of cottonwood habitat," said Joseph Bailey, lead author of the study.

Bailey and the other researchers note that "Our study shows that beavers discriminate at the level of closely related cottonwoods species and their natural hybrids. These points emphasize that terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems may be linked by genetically based plant traits that can directly and indirectly affect population-, community-, and ecosystem-level processes."

The authors involved in this study included: Joseph Bailey, Jennifer Schweitzer, Gregory Martinsen, and Thomas Whitham from Northern Arizona University and Brian Rehill (currently at United States Naval Academy) and Richard Lindroth from the University of Wisconsin.


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Contact: Annie Drinkard
annie@esa.org
Ecological Society of America
31-Mar-2004


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