Community and home gardens are hotspots for pollinators in cities

Pollinators, such as bees, are important parts of the environment since they are required for plant success and fruit production by humans and animals alike. However, populations of pollinators have been declining worldwide due to a number of issues, including widespread pesticide use and loss of habitats. A recent study conducted by researchers in the UK and their colleagues examined pollinator use of urban areas, comparing community gardens, home gardens, cemeteries, and other spaces. The researchers show that the abundance and diversity of many pollinator groups was highest in community and home gardens, and suggest that urban planners should increase these spaces to boost pollinator populations.

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Right Place Wrong Time: Timing Mismatches Between Humans and Plants at Mount Rainier National Park

In a recent study using crowd-sourced data, Harvard researchers found that National Park visitors may increasingly visit the parks at the wrong time and the small window when most of the wildflowers bloom. At Mount Rainier National Park, early snowmelt means the plants flower before the majority of tourists visit the park. With climate change, these timing mismatches will become more common, however small changes to human behavior may put the flowers and and the humans that admire them back in sync.

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Where have all the flowers gone? Climate change is driving the loss of forbs and diversity in Californian grasslands

Science predicts that climate change will disrupt many natural processes and cycles and there is ever increasing media coverage regarding expectations for Earth’s future under these pressures. Yet there is little popular discussion about how plant communities will be impacted by these changes despite the fact that they represent the first level of the food web, support entire ecosystems of species, and contain one of the only organisms that can capture free energy to produce life. Understanding the ways that these communities are changing and will change in the future is crucially important to seeing the full picture of how climate change will re-shape life as we know it.

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The Cows and the Bees

In the age of the sixth extinction, we need to think carefully about how we use our land– especially when different land uses are at odds. As a way to advance conservation, researchers in Israel examined “land sharing” of rangelands: a way of using land to benefit agriculture and biodiversity alike.

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Be quiet, please – I’m listening for bees

Sounds are everywhere in nature, and are important communication tools for many organisms. Plants may not be the first organisms you’d think of that would rely on sound to assess their environment, but new research shows that flowers can respond to the sound of a nearby buzzing bee by producing sweetened nectar, likely an adaptation that lets them avoid “wasting” resources on nectar production in the absence of hungry pollinators.

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