The long arm of invasive plants – how one invasive (Eleagnus umbellata, autumn olive) changes the soil microbial community

Invasive plants plague many parts of the US, from roadside environments to natural ecosystems. Research on one invasive plant, the autumn olive (Eleagnus umbellata), indicates that the soil microbial community changes based on proximity to the plant. Long-term changes in soil microbial communities might negatively impact restoration efforts.

Read more

Thirsty trees are more susceptible to damaging beetle infestation

Summer, winter, and multi-year drought events initiate outbreaks of the damaging spruce beetle. Droughts suppress the ability of trees to produce chemicals to defend themselves against the fatal bugs.

Read more

Fat and happy in the city

Wildlife may not always struggle when living in the city. For example, many birds and mammals benefit from access to human food and in some cases, encounter fewer predators in the city. Learning more about how wildlife deals with life in the city can help us learn what features of the city benefit or harm different species. Eastern chipmunks are abundant in both forest and urban habitats making them a suitable species to study to determine whether populations living in the city do better or worse. Researchers found that chipmunks in the city were fatter than forest chipmunks and less stressed, highlighting how some animals can thrive because of urbanization.

Read more

Cleaning up a sea of data

Oceanographers have been drilling sediment cores from the ocean for decades to understand past ocean conditions, but they have inconsistent archiving techniques. In other words, the data was a mess. A new database brings together more than 2,000 sediment cores from the North Pacific, which will help us better understand the ocean and climate over time.

Read more

Under a wave of global change, lakes remain placid

Swimmers, boaters, and fishing enthusiasts care about keeping our lakes healthy. As climate and patterns of land development change, scientists are diving into the challenge of understanding how these interacting forces impact water quality. In a recently published paper, researchers assembled a database of thousands of lakes across the northeastern United States to address this question. They found that water quality has remained surprisingly stable over the past twenty years.

Read more

Turn out the lights: Does artificial light keep song birds up at night?

Have you ever thought about how much light we humans create at night? Well it’s a lot, and all of this light can have a large impact on the animals we share our environment with. In this study, the researchers wanted to determine the effect artificial light at night has on the sleeping behavior of two songbird species: Great tit and blue tit. Read on to learn whether we are keeping birds up at night.

Read more