HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
US ecology dramatically altered by fertilizers and acid rain

A NASA-funded study of ancient and unpolluted South American forests promises to upend longstanding beliefs about ecosystems and the effects of pollution in the Northern Hemisphere.

The study, published in the Jan. 24 issue of Nature, focused on nitrogen, a plant nutrient that plays a critical role in maintaining everything from the health of local waterways to the global climate.

The study finds high levels of inorganic nitrogen in the United States, long thought to be the natural mainstay of the ecosystem, are really the result of acid rain and agricultural fertilizers. The authors argue that the ecosystems of South America, with their preponderance of organic nitrogen, are a window into the past, showing that U.S. ecosystems were very different before the industrial revolution.

Ecologists previously thought that nitrogen-containing minerals, referred to collectively as inorganic nitrogen, have always been the dominant nutrient in forests worldwide. The study of South American forests, however, showed a sharply different picture: complex, organic compounds are the main form of nitrogen in unpolluted ecosystems.

"We traveled in time by traveling to South America," said Lars Hedin, a co-author of the study and a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University.

The information they uncovered could have far-reaching impacts in many areas of ecology, from predicting the pace of global climate change to understanding the consequences of acid rain and agricultural run-off.

"Nitrogen is a sort of master variable," said Steve Perakis, the paper's lead author and a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey. "If we don't get the fundamental elements of the nitrogen cycle right, we can't answer many other ecological questions."

The findings raise questions about our understanding of global warming, which is partly caused by fossil fuel burning and increasing levels of heat-trappin
'"/>

Contact: Cynthia O'Carroll
cocarrol@pop100.gsfc.nasa.gov
301-614-5563
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
24-Jan-2002


Page: 1 2 3

Related biology news :

1. Lecture on ecology of infectious diseases
2. Better living through urban ecology
3. Wolf reintroduction reshapes Yellowstone ecology
4. Articles on remote sensing in ecology published in BioScience
5. Purdue scientists: Genetically modified fish could damage ecology
6. Earliest evidence of humans affecting aquatic ecology in Canada, United States
7. Alien earthworms changing ecology of Northeast forests
8. IUB scientists to study the ecology of infectious disease -- inside ticks
9. Columbia offers new ecology program in Dominican Republic
10. UCSB ecology center to receive grant
11. Across the countryside: How ecology predicts the movement of parasites and disease

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/31/2016)... R.I. , March 31, 2016  Genomics firm ... of founding CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., who ... members of the original technical leadership team, including Chief ... President of Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice President ... returned to the company. Dr. Bready served ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... March 23, 2016 ... Sicherheit Gesichts- und Stimmerkennung mit Passwörtern ... (NASDAQ: MESG ), ein führender Anbieter ... Unternehmen mit SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um erstmals dessen ... wird die Möglichkeit angeboten, im Rahmen mobiler ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... Ontario , PROVO and ... Newborn Screening Ontario (NSO), which operates the ... for molecular testing, and Tute Genomics and UNIConnect, ... management technology respectively, today announced the launch of a ... next-generation sequencing (NGS) testing panel. NSO ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... While the majority of commercial spectrophotometers and fluorometers ... the 6000i models are higher end machines that use the more unconventional z-dimension of ... beam from the bottom of the cuvette holder. , FireflySci has developed several ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 /PRNewswire/ - FACIT has announced the creation ... biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. ("Propellon" or "the ... a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for the ... WDR5 represent an exciting class of therapies, possessing ... for cancer patients. Substantial advances have been achieved ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  The Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a university competition ... harness living systems and biotechnology, announced its winning teams ... New York City . The ... projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos Theater during the daylong ... senior curator of architecture and design, and Suzanne ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced positive ... its complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2. The trials were ... studies designed to assess the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics ... healthy adult volunteers. Forty subjects were ... dose (ranging from 45 to 1,440mg) or repeated ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: