Friday, 28 March 2014

Ecologists learn lessons from the 'ghosts of megafauna'

By Mark Kinver
Environment reporter, BBC News

Scientists have been assessing the ecological consequences of a megafauna-depleted world and what, if anything, should be done about it.

Researchers discussed whether the loss of big beasts contributed to regional and global system changes, such as Arctic warming and more wildfires.

Megafauna (animals with a mass of 44kg or more) once dominated but disappeared in an ecological "blink of an eye".

The global scientific gathering was held at the University of Oxford, UK.

Co-organiser Yadvinder Malhi, professor of ecosystem science at the university's Environmental Change Institute, said the conference was "unique" as it brought together many disciplines that would not normally meet during their day-to-day work.

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