posted on January 25, 2014 10:37
A new study reveals the potential importance of rare species in the functioning of highly diverse ecosystems. Using data from three different ecosystems -- coral reefs, tropical forests and alpine meadows -- a team of researchers has shown that it's primarily the rare species, rather than more common ones, that have distinct traits involved in unique ecological functions. As biodiversity declines, these unique features are particularly vulnerable to extinction because rare species are likely to disappear first.
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