The “Heartbreaking” Effect of Algal Blooms – Heart disease and the Southern Sea Otter

Our favorite hand-holding marine mammals, sea otters, are threatened by environmental toxins. Chemicals produced by algae blooms move up the food chain and cause a multitude of diseases in top predators. A new study documented how algae blooms cause heart disease in sea otters, what this means for our own seafood consumption, and proposes solutions to our pollution.

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Cat-agorizing Cat Owners to Reduce Environmental Harm caused by Domestic House Cats

According to conservationists, domestic cats belong indoors for their safety and the safety of other animals. But, some cat owners disagree, causing rifts between pro-outdoor and pro-indoor cat parents. In a new study, researchers interviewed cat owners across the United Kingdom and cat-agorized cat owners into six distinct groups. Depending on the cat owner’s views , conservationists may have a larger impact if they target their message towards the emotional connection owners have with their feline friends.

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What does the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration mean for you?

The Decade of Ecological Restoration is nearly here! The process of helping ecosystems regain function and biodiversity is a new and complex field. It requires collaboration across academic disciplines and requires connecting the needs of humans and ecosystems. So, what can restoration ecologists learn from sociologists to bridge the gap between humans and nature and help make the coming decade a success?

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Industrial Revolution Pollution Suppresses Succession in Lichen Communities

Lichens are indicators of air pollution and ecosystem health. In London parks, researchers found that historical pollution may have decreased the lichen diversity. Sulfur emissions from the Industrial Revolution and modern nitrogen emissions stall the growth of lichens on urban trees hinting at larger effects on ecosystem health.

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Some Soil Microbes Don’t Mind Our Camping Trips

Have you ever thought about the microorganisms living under your tent while you’re camping? It may seem like setting up the tent and trampling all over the campsite may harm the organisms that live in the soil but new study in the Arizona savanna turns that idea on its head. Read on to learn about camping resistant plants, microbes, and resiliency of this awesome ecosystem.

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From Cropland to Cities: Aerial Transport of Fungi

How connected are our farms to our cities? If you are a flying fungus, they may be very connected! In a new study, researchers from De Paul University found fungi from the soil on the rooftops of Chicago and wondered why. It turns out, small fungal spores can travel from agricultural fields through the air into the cities and form friendships with the city-dwelling plants. Understanding how these spores move from agriculture to cities could help researchers develop new insight of the urban ecosystem.

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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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