ESA gives environmental offset donation to bat and wildflower organizations

When 3,500 individuals from across the country and around the globe convene for a scientific conference such as the Ecological Society of America’s (ESA) recent meeting in Austin, Texas, it takes a toll on the environment.  There is the carbon footprint from the various modes of travel to get to the meeting.  But there is also the broader environmental cost of the habitat loss and the wildlife displacement that occurred to build a...

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Pollination from the plant’s perspective

If plants had a perspective, they would probably think of pollinators as more than just extra-friendly house guests. That is, plants would be more likely to view pollinators as the mutual friend who likes to set up blind dates. Bees might limit pollen to its use as a protein source for the hive, and birds might devour the flesh of a fruit and eliminate the seed as waste. However, many flowering plants, as Bug Girl pointed out in a...

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The story of the fig and its wasp

Inside the rounded fruit of a fig tree is a maze of flowers. That is, a fig is not actually a fruit; it is an inflorescence—a cluster of many flowers and seeds contained inside a bulbous stem. Because of this unusual arrangement, the seeds—technically the ovaries of the fig—require a specialized pollinator that is adapted to navigate within these confined quarters. Here begins the story of the relationship between figs and fig wasps....

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Buffo the truffle-hunting dog, night-blooming balsa trees and fire-ant-made rafts

Truffle shuffle: According to a letter published in the April issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Buffo the truffle-hunting dog made an unusual find: a one-pound Burgundy truffle in the forests of southern Germany in November. As lead author Ulf Büntgen said in a recent Wired Science article, “This wasn’t a small find, but a big and expensive truffle with lots of smaller ones around. It was strange to find it in an area...

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From the Community: giant jellyfish, wine-scented flowers and 50 ideas in ecology

A rare jellyfish is captured on video as it swims in the Gulf of Mexico, New Scientist outlines ideas in ecology that could change the world, researchers examine a wine-scented flower and its pollinators, the top 20 microscope photos of the year and putting a price on Earth. Here are the latest stories in ecology. Mega jellyfish: A video of the giant jellyfish Stygiomedusa gigantean (see above)—which was caught on film in the Gulf of...

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