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:4/17/2017)... 17, 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: NXTD ... filing of its 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K on Thursday ... ... available in the Investor Relations section of the Company,s website at ... website at http://www.sec.gov . 2016 Year Highlights: ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 No two people are ... the New York University Tandon School of Engineering ... found that partial similarities between prints are common ... mobile phones and other electronic devices can be ... vulnerability lies in the fact that fingerprint-based authentication ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 2017 KEY FINDINGS The global ... a CAGR of 25.76% during the forecast period of ... factor for the growth of the stem cell market. ... MARKET INSIGHTS The global stem cell market is ... geography. The stem cell market of the product is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... A recent survey conducted by the ... difficult to control weed in 12 categories of broadleaf crops, fruits and vegetables, while ... across the U.S. and Canada participated in the 2016 survey, the second conducted by ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... Switzerland (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2017 , ... ... R&D, celebrates this month its 20th anniversary, marking the occasion with a strong ... sponsoring the meeting’s Welcome Reception and further extends an invitation to all attendees ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 22, 2017 , ... ... 2017 in San Diego, California, this August will feature high-level speakers on ... autonomous vehicles. , SPIE Optics and Photonics, the largest multidisciplinary optical sciences meeting ...
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Energetiq Technology, a ... a facility expansion to accommodate its rapid growth. , The renovations at the ... renovation of the existing areas. The expansion includes, a state-of-the-art engineering facility, and ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: