What are the big ecological innovations of the last century? #ESA100
Dec03

What are the big ecological innovations of the last century? #ESA100

In December 2015, the Ecological Society of America will celebrate a big birthday: 100 years since the first group of botanists and zoologists, parasitologists, geologists, physiologists, and marine biologists gathered in Columbus, Ohio, to unite their shared interest in the relationships of the great diversity of living organisms to each other and their surroundings. To kick off our centennial year, we are holding a blog and social...

Read More
New diseases travel on the wings of birds in a rapidly changing north
Dec02

New diseases travel on the wings of birds in a rapidly changing north

When wild birds are a big part of your diet, opening a freshly shot bird to find worms squirming around under the skin is a disconcerting sight. That was exactly what Victoria Kotongan saw in October, 2012, when she set to cleaning two of four spruce grouse (Falcipennis canadensis) she had taken near her home in Unalakleet, on the northwest coast of Alaska. The next day, she shot four grouse and all four harbored the long, white...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
Water rises, cattle graze, dunes walk on the Kalahari
Oct15

Water rises, cattle graze, dunes walk on the Kalahari

There is water under the dry sands of the Kalahari. Perversely, this gift has lead to a cycle of land degradation.

Read More
River Flow By Design: Environmental Flows Support Ecosystem Services In Rivers Natural And Novel
Oct09

River Flow By Design: Environmental Flows Support Ecosystem Services In Rivers Natural And Novel

“When the sun peeped over the Sierra Madre, it slanted across a hundred miles of lovely desolation, a vast flat bowl of wilderness rimmed by jagged peaks. On the map the Delta was bisected by the river, but in fact the river was nowhere and everywhere, for he could not decide which of a hundred green lagoons offered the most pleasant and least speedy path to the Gulf.”

Read More
Volunteer ‘eyes on the skies’ track peregrine falcon recovery in California
Sep11

Volunteer ‘eyes on the skies’ track peregrine falcon recovery in California

Datasets from long-running volunteer survey programs, calibrated with data from sporadic intensive monitoring efforts, have allowed ecologists to track the recovery of peregrine falcons in California and evaluate the effectiveness of a predictive model popular in the management of threatened species. In recovery from the deadly legacy of DDT, American peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus anatum) faced new uncertainty in 1992, when...

Read More