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Congrats, Award Winners!
Meet the winners of this year's ESA awards, recognized for their contributions to ecology in new discoveries, teaching, sustainability, diversity and lifelong commitment to the profession.Read more
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Providing Child Care
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A SEEDS Henry L. Gholz National Field Trip endowment announcement.Read more
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Journals & Publications
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
In the Southern Ocean, extent and quality of sea ice are key to the reproductive success of certain Antarctic pinnipeds such as the leopard seal (Hydrurga leptonyx). When sea-ice concentrations fall below 10%, researchers capture fewer seal vocalizations – recorded underwater and serving as a proxy for seal presence and reproductive activity. This finding, by Roca et al. in the June issue of Frontiers, indicates that sea-ice-dependent seals may lack the capacity to adjust the timing of their breeding in response to short-term changes in environmental conditions, which is critical given intensified climate-change impacts in polar regions.
Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) fruit from a hardwood log in New Hampshire, USA. In their study in the June issue of Ecology, Borgmann-Winter et al. compared fungal spores in rodent scat to windborne spores and found that these two dispersal pathways support complementary fungal communities. Wood saprotrophs (such as the oyster mushroom) were among those fungal functional types most common in windborne spore samples, whereas mycorrhizal fungi and soil saprotrophs were among those common in rodent scat. These findings demonstrate the importance of vertebrates in supporting fungal communities, which in turn facilitate nutrient cycling, decomposition, and plant community composition through mycorrhizal symbiosis.
Fruit-feeding butterflies (family Nymphalidae) are common indicator species of environmental changes in tropical moist forests. In their study published in the May issue of Ecosphere, Korkiatupa et al. analyzed community composition changes of fruit-feeding butterflies in restored forests of Kibale National Park, Uganda. They showed that as the restored forests get older, the butterfly communities increasingly resemble communities found in the primary forests. The strikingly blue Euphaedra uganda was one of the 101 fruit-feeding butterfly species recorded during the sampling.
On the outskirts of Madison, Wisconsin, USA, a pickerel frog (Lithobates palustris) keeps an eye out for new threats in a changing landscape. In their study in the June issue of Ecological Applications, Trovillion et al. show that urban development often simplifies lentic habitats into stormwater retention ponds, reduces connectivity, and facilitates nonnative species introductions leading to reduced richness. However, greenspaces that preserve complex habitats may allow native aquatic communities to persist within the urban environment.
Biodiversity–ecosystem functioning (BEF) experiments can be used to better understand the mechanisms behind diversity and ecosystem functions relationships. The BEF-China tree diversity experiment site is pictured here during early morning in September 2019. In their study published in the May issue of Ecological Monographs, Beugnon et al. studied the mechanisms behind tree diversity effects on microbial biomass and soil carbon concentration at this site. Their results highlight strong effects of forest diversity on soil microbial biomass and carbon by driving forest productivity, tree functional traits, and micro-environmental conditions.
In the April issue of the ESA Bulletin, Lauren D. Pharr interviews Joseph Drew Lanham, a Black Man, naturalist, writer, and poet, and new MacArthur Fellow. Lanham is an ornithologist and bird watcher. The Bulletin contribution explores Lanham's influence, significance, and perspectives on ecology and society.