Nature's Complex Connections
New research performed by scientists at the Institute
for Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York, is demonstrating the remarkable
interconnectedness of nature.
Researchers Clive Jones and Richard Ostfeld, along with their colleagues,
manipulated forest plots at the Institute, first by removing white-footed
mice and adding acorns. The study, funded by NSF's Division of Environmental
Biology, revealed a number of interrelationships between denizens of the
forest--including white-footed mice, gypsy moth larvae and black-legged
ticks. For example, during years of large acorn production, the population
and survival rates of white-footed mice increase. The rise and fall in mice
population in turn impact the cycles of gypsy moth production.
Acorn production also has an effect on the density of larval ticks.
amount of nature is interconnected," says Jones, "with unexpected players
and interactions." Jones also believes these complex relationships have
implications for human health, and for understanding, predicting and managing