If trees could hear, is human noise a threat?

Sources of noise, like gas well compressors, are known to affect many animals negatively. But could the noise be impacting plant communities? Researchers sought an answer by comparing pinyon and juniper seedling growth near quiet or noisy gas well pads in the woodlands of New Mexico. Throughout the twelve-year study, noise harmed tree communities. Trees struggled to recover even several years after the noise was removed. Now is the time to listen to the trees because the trees are tired of listening to us.

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A Day in the Life of a Parasite: Using Parasites to Describe Fish Movement

When you think of parasites, your first thoughts probably aren’t “helpful” or “useful.” However, parasites aren’t just something we try to get rid of; they can be studied and used in all kinds of applications, including conservation. Check out this article to learn more about how scientists are using parasites to track species movements around the world.

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Using Plants to Protect the Past

A new study found that plants that are culturally significant to Native American tribes are abundant near archeological sites in Bears Ears National Monument suggesting that historical human behavior is still shaping our ecosystems today. Now, we need to use our resources to protect this cultural and ecological legacy and educate others about the history of these ancestral lands.

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New Discovery of Microbes Gobbling Up Greenhouse Gases in Extreme Environments

A new group of microbes can eat up methane, a common component of greenhouse gas. Named for Dr. Thomas Brock, this new phylum sheds new light on the role microbes play in the global carbon cycle. This study demonstrates the astounding biodiversity of microbes in extreme environments and how tiny creatures shape our world.

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Phoning the Queen with Fanning and Pheromones

Like a game of telephone, bees pass pheromones to each other by sticking their butts in the air and frantically fanning their wings. This individual behavior helps the entire group aggregate around the queen. A recent study used video recording and machine learning to understand how these pheromones are passed from bee to bee and understand collective behavior in honey bees.

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Helping a vulnerable rabbit species hop along with non-invasive genetic sampling

Many species face harsh challenges to persist in a human modified world. In order to design and implement conservation plans to support these imperiled species, we need to study wild populations. Advancements in genetics have made it easier to monitor wild populations and obtain relevant data to make informed choices regarding management and conservation policies. Check out this ebite to learn more about the conservation genetics of the New England cottontail rabbits.

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Can Human Infrastructure Improve Biodiversity?

Electrical towers are dotted across landscapes around the world, bringing power to people in cities and the country. But can these towers be used to help wildlife? In a new study, researchers in Sevilla, Spain modified the base of these towers to attract wildlife. They found that not only do these man-made structures attract wildlife, but they can also act as wildlife corridors — providing safe passage for critters as they move across human-modified landscapes.

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Dead and Gone? – The loss of decaying wood communities in urban forests

Forests are beautiful. From flourishing plants to tranquil wildlife to decaying logs, all parts are beautiful, vital, and connected. Dead logs are responsible for maintaining a healthy forest thanks to teams of fungi and wood-dependent insects inside. These organisms break down plant material to add nutrients back to the ecosystem. Forests are essential for human health and well-being, but human disturbance could threaten these ecosystems. To keep our forests healthy and beautiful, we depend on these decomposers, but can they rely on us?

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