Changing environmental conditions could put diverse ecosystems, such as rainforests and coral reefs, at greater risk of multiple extinctions. A new study suggests that, rather than protecting ecosystems from collapse, high levels of biodiversity may actually prove risky in a situation such as climate change – where an unpredictable environment can suddenly extinguish a population needed to support an ecosystem, leading to knock-on effects further up the food chain.
Source: Kaneryd, L., Borrvall, C., Berg, S., Curtsdotter, A., Eklöf, A., Hauzy, C., Jonsson, T., Münger, P., Setzer, M., Säterberg, T. and Ebenman, B. (2012), Species-rich ecosystems are vulnerable to cascading extinctions in an increasingly variable world. Ecology and Evolution, 2: 858–874. doi: 10.1002/ece3.218
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