The first study to rigorously show how biodiversity improves water quality is published today in Nature1. It offers proof that biodiversity helps ecosystems to withstand pressures such as pollution.

Brad Cardinale, an ecologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, used 150 artificial streams in his lab to examine how the number of algae species in a habitat affects the speed at which the pollutant nitrate is removed from the water. He found that in habitats containing a mixture of eight species, the organisms removed nitrate up to 4.5 times faster than they did in streams with just one species.


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