Madagascar team tracks lemurs as they spread the seeds of the rainforest
Nov12

Madagascar team tracks lemurs as they spread the seeds of the rainforest

On the island nation of Madagascar, the long-limbed local primates, lemurs, are for some trees, essential helpers. It is advantageous for a tree to scatter its progeny not just to the wind and widely, but where they will find fertile ground and clement conditions for growth. Some trees recruit animals for this task by tempting them with delicious and nutritious fruits – inside which hide seeds sealed in hard, indigestible coats for...

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Forest dance on wires depicts a creeping fungal multitude blown back by a tornado
Nov11

Forest dance on wires depicts a creeping fungal multitude blown back by a tornado

Plant biology PhD student Uma Nagendra of the University of Georgia, Athens, wins the 2014 Dance Your PhD competion, sponsored by Science, AAAS, and HighWire Press. Floating on trapeze wires, young white pine seedlings unfurl and reach for light. But lurking in the roots of the parent tree are dangerous fungi that creep forth to strike at the young scions. The sprouts closest to the great tree falter and wilt, giving ground to other...

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Canopy in the Clouds development team analyzes its social outreach
Oct29

Canopy in the Clouds development team analyzes its social outreach

A guest post by Greg Goldsmith, a tropical plant ecologist and part of the multitalented team behind Canopy in the Clouds. He describes methods he used to track and analyze audience engagement in the educational website with colleagues Drew Fulton, Colin Witherill, and Javier Espeleta in an article out today in Ecosphere. Cloud Forest Introduction from Colin Witherill on Vimeo.   There is a growing movement towards using the web...

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Invasive seaweed shelters tiny native critters on Georgia mudflats
Oct24

Invasive seaweed shelters tiny native critters on Georgia mudflats

On the tidal mudflats of Georgia and South Carolina, the red Japanese seaweed Gracilaria vermiculophylla is gaining a foothold where no native seaweeds live. Only debris and straggles of dead marsh grass used to break the expanse of mud at low tide. Crabs, shrimp, and small crustaceans mob the seaweed in abundance. What makes it so popular? Not its food value. On mudflats near Savannah, Ga., Jeffrey Wright and colleagues found that...

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Old forests store new nitrogen–and may soak up nutrient excesses
Oct23

Old forests store new nitrogen–and may soak up nutrient excesses

Ecologists working in central Pennsylvania forests have found that forest top soils capture and stabilize the powerful fertilizer nitrogen quickly, within days, but release it slowly, over years to decades. The discrepancy in rates means that nitrogen can build up in soils, David Lewis, Michael Castellano, and Jason Kaye report in the October 2014 issue of ESA’s journal Ecology, published online this week. Forests may be...

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