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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Seeking Common Ground…Using Earthworms

Nearly everyone on earth has seen an earthworm squirming on the sidewalk after a rainstorm but are we all seeing the same species? A group of researchers wants to understand the similarities in urban earthworm populations in cities around the world. If there are the same species on opposite sides of the ocean, what does this mean for biodiversity within the urban ecosystems many of us call home?

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What Smokey the Bear didn’t know about invasive species

Fires are increasing across the United States and researchers are looking to weed out the one of the culprits — invasive grasses. Using information from fires and non-native grass invasion across the country, researchers from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst set out to determine if invasive grasses increase the number of fires across the United States. Of the twelve grass species analyzed, 66% increased fire frequency, adding another layer to the complexity of managing wildfires. As individuals we can help halt this “grass-fire cycle” by reducing the spread of invasive grasses and human-caused sparks.

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