The burning question: How do wildfires impact watersheds?

Wildfires can be devastating events, but the impacts can last long after the flames are gone. The major changes to the landscape can have serious implications for how water moves and, as a result, how much of that water we can use. In this study, scientists investigate what a fiery future under climate change could mean for watersheds.

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Uncool beans: The future of coffee under climate change

A lot of people would say that a hot cup of coffee is a morning necessity, but a hotter future under climate change could mean trouble is brewing. In this study, scientists examined how rising temperatures might impact the growth of one of the major types of coffee produced in the world.

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The Unintended Catch: Population Declines in Greater Scaup due to Fishery Bycatch

Aquatic birds play an important role in shallow water ecosystems, affecting the diversity of their prey communities and providing an important link in the food web. Over the years, mortality has increased in many aquatic bird species due to human activity. New research on a population of Greater Scaup (Aythya marila), an aquatic bird species native to Europe, determined that fisheries contribute heavily to its mortality and gives us tools to understand how we can reduce this impact. If no action is taken, this species could become endangered within the next 30 years.

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These Boots Were Made from Exotic Leather

When picturing an American cowboy, images of horses and lassos come to mind, studded in spurs and blanketed in leather. The leather that you imagine is most likely cow hide, tanned and sourced in the United States of America. However, this mental image may require some adjustment. According to a study conducted by Jessica Heinrich and her team, exotic leather within the US is relatively common, particularly leather sourced from scaled mammals known as pangolins and large fish known as arapaima. Conservation efforts are more dire than ever as illegal trade of the two scaly organisms continues.

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Historical Mercury Pollution: Tree Rings Have the Receipts!

Mercury is a troublesome pollutant in the environment and while we know a lot more about where sources are today, we don’t know as much about where sources were in the past and how high pollution levels were. Luckily, trees can help us to figure that out! Using traces of mercury pollution stored in tree rings, scientists try to see how mercury pollution levels have changed as we’ve become more industrialized.

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Hot tree summer: Measuring the effects of the 2017 heat wave on Europe’s forests

Plants are always just trying to live their best life, but sometimes high temperatures and a lack of water get in the way of that. In this study, scientists studied a heat wave that occurred in southern Europe in summer 2017 to see how different plants fared across the region.

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Every birdie poops: How birds could be helping coral reefs in a changing climate

Warming ocean temperatures pose a big threat to coral reefs, but could coral reefs be getting some help from having feathered friends nearby? In this study, scientists investigate how the nutrients from bird poop may be helping to keep coral reefs from going to waste.

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We need to talk about the elephant in the carbon budget

In order to create a carbon budget, we need to identify everything that is taking carbon in and out of the atmosphere. While we have a pretty good idea of the important processes, could we be missing another “big” piece of the puzzle? In this study, scientists try to figure out if elephants are having an impact on the carbon cycle where they live.

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