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Posted Sun Oct 24 2010: from ScienceDaily:
From Bees to Coral Reefs: Mutualisms Might Be More Important to Global Ecosystem Than Previously Thought
Mutually beneficial partnerships among species may play highly important but vastly underrecognized roles in keeping the Earth's ecosystems running, a group of evolutionary biologists suggests in a study.... Experts from several fields joined forces in this study and published their conclusions in Ecology Letters, one of the most influential journals in the field of ecology. "The alarmist view is that if you disrupt an interaction, you lose the interaction, you lose the community, and, ultimately, the ecosystem," Bronstein said. "We are trying to challenge people to make that explicit and to figure out whether their data support that. We need to ask, 'What is the range of possible things that can happen?'" "It is not all doom-and-gloom," lead author E. Toby Kiers added. "There are clear cases in which mutualisms show a surprising ability to adapt to global change."
[Read more stories about: ecosystem interrelationships, tipping point, unintended consequences]

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