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Journals & Publications
At the interface between the terrestrial and marine realms, sandy beaches – such as these in Normandy, in northwest France – provide an assortment of valuable ecosystem services but are jeopardized by multiple threats and fragmented governance. Flanked by dunes and the surf zone, beach systems are collectively subject to so-called “coastal squeeze”, caught in a vise between sea-level rise on one side and development pressures on the other. In the December issue of Frontiers, Defeo et al. explain how in the face of an uncertain future, the sustainable management of sandy beach landscapes will necessitate their consideration as social–ecological systems.
Northern Gannets (Morus bassanus) are among the largest and most predator-resistant seabirds, and thus have minimal geomorphological requirements for nesting. In their field study published in The Scientific Naturalist section in the January issue of Ecology, Eveillard-Buchoux and Beninger find that smaller seabirds integrate critical geomorphological features at several spatial scales (nest, cliff face, and land mass) when nesting. They suggest that geomorphology and geodiversity be factored into conservation planning for declining seabird populations.
Saguaro cacti (Carnegiea gigantea) are a keystone species supporting dozens of species in the Sonoran Desert of the southwest United States and northwest Mexico. In the December issue of Ecosphere, Foley et al. document a unique phenological phenomenon in the species and tracked thousands of individual flowers as they appeared on the crowns of saguaro stems in a population in Saguaro National Park, Tucson, Arizona. Saguaros produce flowers that first appear on the eastern side of their crowns and sequentially appear in a counterclockwise direction.
Burned chaparral in northern California, USA exhibit abundant herbaceous vegetation but low shrub recovery after a combination of drought and fire. In their study published in the January issue of Ecological Applications, Werner et al. report that shrubs on fertile soils, like those shown here one-year post-fire, experienced high mortality and low regrowth of the surviving individuals. In contrast, burned areas on less fertile serpentine soils had higher shrub survival and regrowth.
A group of female and juvenile waterbuck on the floodplain in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique in 2017. In their study of this population, published in the November issue of Ecological Monographs, Becker et al. documented extraordinarily high densities of waterbuck on the floodplain and identified the behavioral and ecological mechanisms underpinning the expansion of individuals out of this preferred open habitat and into the historically less-preferred savanna.