Predicting future extinctions

Predicting future extinctions - nsf.gov - National Science...

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NSF Web Site Press Release 11-015 Mathematical Model Could Help Predict and Prevent Future Extinctions Research could rescue fragile ecosystems and halt complex cascade events A newly developed mathematical model suggests some species extinctions can be avoided. Credit and Larger Version January 25, 2011 In an effort to better understand the dynamics of complex networks, scientists have developed a mathematical model to describe interactions within ecological food webs. This research, performed by Northwestern University physics professor Adilson Motter and his student, Sagar Sahasrabudhe, is published in the January 25 issue of Nature Communications . The work illustrates how human intervention may effectively aid species conservation efforts. "Our study provides a theoretical basis for management efforts that would aim to mitigate extinction cascades in food web networks. There is evidence that a significant fraction of all extinctions are caused not by a primary perturbation but instead by the propagation of a cascade," said Motter. Extinction cascades are often observed following the loss of a key species within an ecosystem. As the system changes to compensate for the loss, availability of food, territory and other resources to each of the remaining members can fluctuate wildly, creating a boom-or-bust environment that can lead to even more extinctions. According to the study, more than 70 percent of these extinctions are preventable, assuming that the system can be brought into balance
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This note was uploaded on 09/29/2011 for the course BIO 201 taught by Professor True during the Spring '08 term at SUNY Stony Brook.

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Predicting future extinctions - nsf.gov - National Science...

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