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Considering canopy cover in Ecuador

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Loss of canopy cover in rainforests—compared to the other fragmented habitats in Manabi in southwest Ecuador—leads to a region-wide loss of diversity in species interactions, said researchers from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. As Jason Tilianakis and Etienne Read more ›

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Fruitful Savannahs: Termites enrich the soil in East Africa

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Vertebrate fertilizer is not the only source of nutrients in the soils of East African savannahs, at least according to a study recently published in the journal Ecology. Alison Brody from the University of Vermont and colleagues found that termites Read more ›

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Stepping stones of diversity: the Santa Barbara landscape and giant kelp genetics

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What is it about the rocky habitat in California that makes giant kelp so prevalent? And how do they spread from one section of the Santa Barbara Channel to another? According to Filipe Alberto, a marine population geneticist at the Read more ›

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Arctic shrubs looming large: Climate change and tundra productivity

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All around the world, the subtle—and not-so-subtle—impacts of climate change are becoming apparent.  In the Arctic, where temperatures are warming at about twice the rate of lower latitudes, researchers are discovering marked changes in the landscape. In this month’s Field Read more ›

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The abandoned mutualist: When ants take their business elsewhere

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Ant-plant mutualisms are ubiquitous in tropical areas. In these examples of cooperation in nature, plants provide nutrition and shelter for ants that live on their leaves and branches. In return, the ants provide defense, kicking out (or even killing) any Read more ›

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It’s only skin deep: Melanism and thermoregulation in lizards

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Like all ectotherms, lizards gain energy to go about their business by absorbing heat from their surrounding environment. Often lizards bask in the sun to maximize their heat absorption. But there are other, subtler things that can also affect how Read more ›

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Battles of the sexes: Competition and evolution in tropical hummingbirds

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In this edition of Field Talk, we catch up with Ethan Temeles, a biologist at Amherst College, who tells us a tale of competition among the sexes in Caribbean hummingbirds – competition so severe that it drives their evolution. The Read more ›

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Seasonality and climate change

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Rising temperatures as a result of climate change promise to alter the behaviors of temperature-sensitive organisms. But climate change is also affecting the timing of seasons, which can throw off the alarm clock for critical behaviors, such as breeding. In Read more ›

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