Supercomputers Take Down Ecological Theory

New research could change the way scientists think about geographic range for plant species.

The Botanical Information and Ecological Network (BEIN), working with the iPlant Collaborative and the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), has overturned a popular theory in ecology by determining that there is “… no relationship between the diversity of species and the range of ecological functioning.”

The results are part of a massive study on the plant diversity of the New World that uses supercomputing techniques to compute geographic range estimates for more than 100,000 species.