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Journals & Publications
Under certain circumstances, the intense heat from large wildfires can generate strong vertical air currents, promoting the formation of massive pyrocumulonimbus clouds that may induce extreme fire behavior that overwhelms suppression capabilities. In the September issue of Frontiers, Pausas et al. describe how observed changes in natural fire regimes are driven by a combination of human factors aside from anthropogenic climate change, including ignition likelihood, ecosystem fragmentation, rural abandonment of agricultural lands, and historical fire suppression policies.
Nudibranch Flabellina affinis slides on the green fronds of Caulerpa cylindracea, an invasive alga that has detrimental effects on Mediterranean native benthic flora and fauna. However, as reported by Santamaría et al. in the September issue of Ecology, the synergistic effect between competition and herbivory can strongly limit the abundance of the invader in well preserved areas, where habitat complexity and herbivory pressure are high. Thus, the interaction between different processes is to be considered when assessing the biotic resistance of native habitats against invaders.
Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) produce individually identifiable calls called signature whistles. Using underwater acoustic recorders off the coast of Maryland, USA, in the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay, Bailey et al. found a total of 1,518 unique signature whistles. This indicates the minimum number of dolphins that occurred within the study area during 2016–2018. There were reoccurrences of the same signature whistles across years and sites, indicating site fidelity as well as movement of bottlenose dolphins between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic coast off Maryland. These results, published in the August issue of Ecosphere, can help inform management of this protected species.
“The Diversity Challenge Confronts Ecology” Forum published in the September issue of Ecological Applications presents perspectives on structural and cultural problems within institutions, mentorship practices, professional development programs, and research experiences which have caused and perpetuated low representation of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders in the environmental workforce and in academia. The papers in the collection emphasize the need for building cultural competency and implementing interventions to better support a sense of belonging among minority ecologists. Pictured is Cristal Dominguez Vasquez, a recent graduate of Colorado State University’s Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Program and a student from the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation, looking out at Phelps Lake in Grand Teton National Park, USA in summer 2020. Dominguez Vasquez participated in the Pollinator Hotshot Program, a field ecology project sponsored by the National Science Foundation looking at pollinator diversity in U.S. National Parks.
Diatoms are the most recently added major algal lineage in the geological record, yet today they play a dominant role in ocean biological carbon sequestration and support of Earth’s largest fisheries. In their study published in the August issue of Ecological Monographs, Behrenfeld et al. conclude that specific physiological attributes linked to predator–prey dynamics and speciation rates are responsible for the diatom’s grand success. Pictured is a scanning electron micrograph of a centric species illustrating an important and unique diatom attribute, a highly specialized siliceous cell wall (frustule).
The July issue of the ESA Bulletin continues the Human Dimensions series, highlighting the work and mission of different ESA sections. Iuliano et al. trace the past, present, and future of the Agroecology section, and how agroecology overlaps with other stakeholders in the world of ecology (and beyond).