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Climate Change can Dramatically Alter Inter-Species Interaction

Sep 14, 2013 08:21 AM EDT

Microbes, plants and animals don't just appear in a random way in an eco-system, but are sort of an organized team that runs the system. A new study from the U.K. has found that climate change is not only reducing the number of plants and animals but is also altering the way species interact with each other, damaging the entire biological cycle.

Research on effect of global warming on plants and animals concentrates on falling number of species. However, researchers at Cardiff University and their colleagues from Leibnitz Institute of Freshwater Ecology in Berlin say that changes in the way different species interact is also as important as species disappearing.

For the study, the scientists used chemicals to modify ecosystem in streams, which mimicked changes linked with climate change. Researchers found that habitat modification dramatically altered the way different species interact with each other.

"The consistency of results between experiments and field data here was striking: when we assessed differences between streams in semi-natural and agricultural catchments or where we added small amounts of sediments to rivers to mimic one of the effects of changing land use, the results were the same: both completely altered the way that species co-occurred from highly organised to random. This implies that interactions between species - such as the way they compete for resources - were being disrupted," Dr Stefano Larsen, one of the study authors from Berlin, according to a news release.

The study is published in the journal, Global Change Biology.

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