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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Oysters of New York
Jan09

Oysters of New York

Denitrification heroes?
The dense urban life of Queens surrounds Jamaica Bay, NY, where Timothy Hoellein and Chester Zarnoch measured the effect of oysters on the nitrogen cycle. Can oysters help remove an excess of the nutrient from the bay?

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Making room for prairie STRIPs in Iowa’s cornbelt
Nov19

Making room for prairie STRIPs in Iowa’s cornbelt

A Field Talk interview with Lisa Schulte Moore (Land Sharing/Sparing #1) digs into how integrating STRIPs of prairie into conventional row crops helps farms, waterways, and wildlife.

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Baltimore’s Watershed 263 experiment in socioecology
Jan16

Baltimore’s Watershed 263 experiment in socioecology

Ecological restoration makes city dwellers happier and healthier. by Liza Lester, ESA communications officer IN the first summer after my move from the cool green climes of western Washington State to Washington, DC, I gained a primal, physical understanding the urban heat island effect. Summer in the District of Columbia is a hot, humid shock for a native northwesterner, and last summer was record-breaking hot. Cycling away on humid...

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Water pollution turns microbes virulent

An idyllic lake turns threatening when heavy rainfall causes a sewage treatment plant to overflow. Within 24 hours, once-benign microbes turn into virulent pathogens, breeding incessantly and attacking the embryos of lake fish. As much as that may sound like the synopsis of a movie on Mystery Science Theater, this is an impact on lake ecosystems that is actually occurring.

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To fertilize or acidify? Nitrogen plays both sides in soils

The human industrial and agricultural sectors contribute to air pollution by releasing nitrogen oxides (sometimes denoted NOx) into the atmosphere. And just like ocean acidification occurs when carbon dioxide dissolves into the ocean, soil acidification can occur when nitrogen oxides dissolve into soils. But we also know that nitrogen is a major component of fertilizers, which add nutrients to soils.  So how do these two...

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