The effects of years of dry weather on the ecosystem was the topic of a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.
Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Joshua Grinath, a postdoctoral scholar in the university’s Department of Biology, first aired Oct. 23 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and online at www.wmot.org. You can listen to their conversation above.
Grinath was one of seven researchers who participated in a study called “Ecological winners and losers of extreme drought in California,” which was published in the Aug. 20 edition of Nature Climate Change, an academic journal. You can read their research here.
The scientists studied how 423 species of plants, birds, reptiles, mammals and arthropods in California’s Carrizo Plain, located about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles, eacted to the 2012-15 California drought, which was the driest period in the area in the past 1,200 years.
Surprisingly, they found that locally rare species were more likely to increase in numbers, and abundant species were more likely to decline. They concluded that droughts indirectly promote the long-term persistence of rare species by putting additional stress on dominant species.
“A big question that I have is, ‘When drought is not only more intense, but more frequent through time, how is that going to impact biodiversity in the long run here, and how is that important for the ability of these ecosystems to respond to drought and then to recover from drought afterwards?’” Grinath said.
To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.
For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.