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Mediterranean, semi-arid ecosystems prove resistant to climate change

Phys.org/news (Oct 20, 2014 )

Titre : Mediterranean, semi-arid ecosystems prove resistant to climate change

Climate change predictions for the Middle East, like other arid regions of the world, are alarming. In an area known for its water scarcity, rainfall is expected to decrease even further in the near future, spelling disaster for the functioning of unique ecosystems—hotspots of biodiversity and rich genetic fodder for essential crops.

Phys.org/news (Oct 20, 2014 )

Présentation
To test these dire predictions, Prof. Marcelo Sternberg of the Department of Molecular Biology and Ecology of Plants at Tel Aviv University’s Faculty of Life Sciences, together with ecologists from the University of Tübingen in Germany, subjected natural ecosystems to an experimental drought over the course of nine years, simulating predicted future climate scenarios.

In the course of their experiment, conducted in four different ecosystems ranging from desert (3.5 inches of annual rainfall) to moist Mediterranean woodland (30.7 inches of annual rainfall), the researchers found that, contrary to predictions, no measurable changes in annual vegetation could be seen. None of the crucial vegetation characteristics—neither species richness and composition, nor density and biomass (particularly important for ecosystems traditionally used as rangelands)—had changed appreciably in the course of the rainfall manipulations.

"Based on our study, the going hypothesis that all semiarid regions will react strongly to climate change needs to be revised," states Prof. Sternberg. The surprising results of the study were recently published in Nature Communications.

Source  : Tel Aviv University

Annonce (Phys.org/news)

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