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Research and Field Notes

ESA launches new OA journal with the Ecological Society of China

Ecosystem Health and Sustainability showcases applications of ecological science in support of sustainable development during an era of extensive and accelerating human and environmental change. Today, the Ecological Society of America (ESA) and the Ecological Society of China (ESC) jointly launch a new open access scholarly research journal to foster communication of applied ecological research across national and disciplinary boundaries….

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From the community: ESA annual meeting in the news

Last week at the Ecological Society of America’s (ESA) 95th Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh, scientists presented research on the foraging behavior of bushbabies, the effects of RoundUp herbicide on amphibians, the benefits of microbial communities inside the human body and the global issues surrounding invasive species, pollution, global warming, elevated nitrogen and hypoxia, among others. Here is just some of the research from ESA’s annual meeting.

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Ups and downs: climate change in January 2010

This post was contributed by Piper Corp, ESA Science Policy Analyst, and Katie Kline A lot has happened over the last couple of weeks when it comes to climate change: 2009 was tied for the second warmest year on record, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski took aim at the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and China joined…

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A Conference about Water V: The EcoEd Digital Library

This post was submitted by Teresa Mourad and Jennifer Riem of ESA’s Education Office. The ongoing discussions at the Millennium Conference are highlighting the role that ecologists and social scientists play in issues related to water, ecosystem services, and drought. Preparing the next generation of scientists to research, adapt, mitigate and manage these challenges is a responsibility that we all…

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A Conference about Water III: Perceptions of Water Use

Todd Rasmussen takes questions after his talk at the ESA Millennium Conference. Yesterday’s morning sessions at the ESA Millennium Conference on water and drought wrapped up the keynote talks and moved into posters showcasing social and ecological studies surrounding water use. Denise Fort, a professor of law at the University of New Mexico, gave an overview of water law and…

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A Conference About Water, Part II: Drought and water issues on the big screen

Yesterday afternoon at the ESA Millennium Conference on water-ecosystem services, drought, and environmental justice included a varied program of presentations, including two more plenary talks and a reception showcasing case studies on water-ecosystem services, presented in a manner very different for ecological science: in a session using videos that was reminiscent of a poster session. Emily Bernhardt of Duke takes…

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ESA Conference: Drought & environmental justice

The first conference in ESA’s Millennium Series begins on Monday at the University of Georgia in Athens. The conference, titled “Water-Ecosystem Services, Drought, and Environmental Justice,” will bring 100 scientists and land managers together to work on the resolution of social issues related to localized drought. The conference will focus on issues surrounding one of the biggest emerging environmental issues…

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Green up that roof

A greenroof atop Chicago’s city hall. Having a garden on your roof isn’t just nice for a garden party; it can make your city more environmentally friendly. Planting a rooftop garden can offset heat, increase city biodiversity and decrease stormwater runoff, which is why many cities around the world are creating laws to encourage the use of greenroofs. In Berlin,…

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TNT and plants: shrubs as toxin detectors

Photo courtesy of Julie Naumann. If you’ve been to many national forests, chances are you’ve seen signs like the one to the left: walk on this field and a land mine might explode. In her talk this morning at the ESA Annual Meting, Julie Naumann of the U.S. Army Corps of engineers explained that even if they don’t explode, these…

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Flu evolving in the human body ecosystem

The field of disease ecology is a fast-evolving one as ecologists realize more and more that the insides of animals and plants are really like small-scale ecosystems, encompassing the same rules as large-scale ecosystems, like species interactions, environmental variability and evolutionary change. Katia Koelle of Duke University gave a talk yesterday about evolution in the H3N2 virus — not to…

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Reduced tilling improves soil microbe biodiversity

The theme of this year’s ESA meeting is “Ecological Knowledge and a Global Sustainable Society, and the program shows it: there are at least six sessions devoted completely to sustainable agriculture and agroforestry.  Most studies approach the problem of increasing cropland productivity while causing little harm to the environment by assessing above-ground processes, like cropland biodiversity or the use of…

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Master-of-one caterpillars dodge bird predation

Insect herbivore species often specialize on the host plants that they eat, evolving adaptations to use a plant’s unique set of resources.  But like any time you throw all your eggs in one basket, these caterpillars put themselves at risk. Michael Singer of Wesleyan University gave a talk today at the ESA Annual Meeting that evaluated these tradeoffs in caterpillars….

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Food for fish dwindling on developed lakes

A pulse of midges swarms over Lake Malawi in Africa. Photo credit: The Daily Mail. Freshwater fish often rely on terrestrial insects as a portion of their food supply. In lakes, the size and shape of the lake can determine how much the fish rely on terrestrial insects for food. But with humans’ love of lakefront property, the resulting development…

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New ESA podcasts page

The ESA podcasts page has been revamped!  Check out the new look for your favorite ESA podcasts on the new ESA podcasts page. Or, if you’re an ESA podcast newbie,  here’s the rundown of the three series: Beyond the Frontier features interviews with the authors publishing in the ESA journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. The authors to discuss…

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For now, forget biofuels in reserves

Ethanol as the next generation of alternative fuels has stirred significant controversy. While some tout its lower-than-gasoline greenhouse-gas emissions and its usefulness in creating carbon sinks in its agricultural fields, many other ecologists call ethanol production the most inefficient of alternative fuel options. Even the most optimistic scenarios still show that using current technologies, it can take years – in…

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Ecosystems and the public good, Darwin style

This week there has been no shortage of Darwin-related events to attend about town in Washington, D.C., as science and environmental  groups have clamored to put on talks, events and celebrations commemorating Darwin’s legacy. Today I attended a symposium sponsored by the National Academies , titled “Twenty-first Century Ecosystems: Systemic Risk and the Public Good.”  The session I attended on…

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Frontiers letters on China and Tibet

In response to several requests, ESA is making several letters exchanging views about China and Tibet, originally published in the February and April issues of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, available to the general public. To read these letters, click on Frontiers letters on Tibet. Readers who wish to add comments may do so in the comment section of…

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