Biospheres are defined by the diversity of species in them, but it’s not always clear how many there are.
In the first study to look at how often the biosphere changes, researchers at Columbia University in New York found that when the number of species increased, the number and diversity of microbes in the biospheres decreased.
That may sound counterintuitive because the microbes have a tendency to colonize other organisms, but they’re also often the ones that have the most important roles in the ecosystem.
“The microbiome is critical for health,” said lead author Rachel Sussman, a postdoctoral fellow in microbiology at Columbia.
“It regulates the balance of microbial communities, and it has an enormous impact on the biotic system.”
Sussmann and her colleagues used data from the Global Biodiversity Monitoring Project, which tracks changes in biodiversity across the world.
That data was gathered in 2009, and they compared the number changes to what is predicted to happen in the future based on past environmental changes.
For example, in 2009 scientists expected that biodiversity would increase by 10 per cent by 2050, which would be a dramatic increase from the expected 7 per cent increase in species richness and a predicted 5 per cent decline in biodiversity in 2050.
In reality, the biota could actually decrease by 10.6 per cent.
And that’s if all the changes are to occur within a single biosphere.
“What is important to understand is that these changes are not just going to happen randomly, they are likely to happen over a large period of time,” Sussmans co-author Andrew Segal, a microbiologist at the University of California, San Diego, told Scientific American.
“In a system like the biomes of the oceans and lakes, the microbial communities will change over time because they’re changing through changing climates, changing weather, changing nutrient availability, and changing plant species.”
The researchers found that there was a slight decrease in biodiversity when the biocontrol system was larger.
But it was still too small to be considered significant.
The study was published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution.
Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/03/160425151708.htm#ixzz2qzKjQ2jYvS1S5S1M Sussmen and her co-authors also compared changes in biospheric carbon to how much of the planet’s carbon is contained in the ocean.
They found that the more carbon that was sequestered in the oceans, the less biodiversity there was.
“You have more carbon locked in the carbonate rocks in the bottom of the ocean,” said Susswoman.
“If you want to keep the carbon locked up, you need to keep that carbon out of the air.”
It is important for scientists to understand how the bioregional carbon dynamics work, because the carbon cycle is complex and can affect the whole ecosystem.
But that does not mean that we should not be concerned.
“We don’t want to go too far down the road of a massive carbon budget,” said Segal.
“But it’s really important to remember that ecosystems are also a very dynamic system.”
That dynamic is not just driven by carbon.
It is also driven by the way the Earth’s landmasses are shaped.
In fact, the oceans contain a lot more carbon than the atmosphere, so much that it can affect how much carbon is sequestered by plants.
Sussmings co-workers say that their study should serve as a cautionary tale for researchers and policy makers in the United States and around the world who are trying to understand the role of the biostructure in controlling the carbon balance.
“Our data shows that if we want to control carbon, it’s important to get more species into the biovols and keep them from being too large,” Sussedman said.
“That means that if the ocean is going to increase in carbon dioxide concentrations, it should do so in a way that’s not going to make it too large.
And if the atmosphere is going be too large, it needs to be in a more moderate manner, to keep it under control.”
Sussedmans study also shows that there is a critical link between the amount of carbon in the air and the diversity and abundance of microbes living in the atmosphere.
That link is made up of three factors: the amount and the relative abundance of carbon dioxide, the amount that microbes can produce and store, and the rate at which they can grow.
“Microbes are very important for the biome,” Sommans co-worker John Jankowski said.
The researchers also looked at how long the species and the microbes lived together in a biosphere, as well as how much biomass they produced.
“This is one of the most fascinating areas we’re studying,” said co-researcher Michael Ewers, an assistant professor of bio