Fear the dead: Animal carcasses attract life and death for the wider food web

On the 26th August 2016, as storm clouds gather above the alpine plateau of Hardangervidda in southcentral Norway, a herd of wild tundra reindeer grouped together for protection. A split second later, in a moment of miserable luck, the herd fell to the ground dead, having been struck by a bolt of lightning. Norwegian ecologists took this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study how the mass die-off of 323 reindeer has since impacted the local ecology and food web.

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Sharks on Camera: Can Drones Be Used to Prevent Shark Attacks?

Sharks are an important part of marine ecosystems, but they often have a bad reputation because of an increasing frequency of shark attacks. Traditional methods of deterring sharks are harmful to sharks and other marine animals, so environmental managers are starting to use methods of shark detection to keep beachgoers safe. A team of researchers studied the effectiveness of using drones to detect sharks in an effort to decrease shark attacks.

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Let the games begin! Having fun and playing games can improve the lives of people and wildlife.

With environmental conditions deteriorating across the globe, there’s no time to stop and play games. Except for when the solutions to these problems can be found by playing games. Find out how researchers, conservationists, and farmers in France all played a game to improve land management in a wet grassland.

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How to Study Invasive Species from Space

There are certain things on earth, like oceans and even the Great Wall of China, that can be seen in space by the human eye. Did you know that satellites can also take pictures of the Earth and can be potentially useful for real ecological restoration efforts? Researchers at the University of Cincinnati tested it out in their own backyard and found that they could identify a well spread invasive species. Early detection may be key to saving habitats from harmful, non-native organisms.

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It’s Complicated: Plant-pollinator relationships differ from urban to rural areas

Flowers and the butterflies they attract are beautiful additions to any yard, but your garden is serving a greater purpose. Pollinators – including butterflies, moths, bees, and wasps – depend on plants for survival and are essential for plant reproduction. Plant-pollinator relationships are especially important for agriculture and our food supply. Cities pose many challenges for both plants and their pollinators which could strain their relationship. Find out how cities put pressure on plant-pollinator relationships and what you can do to help!

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The Soil, Sand, and Sea: The Journey of Microplastics

As we approach the start of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development in 2021, it is time we face our unseen but ubiquitous problem: microplastics. What do we know about them, where can we find them, and what does the science say on its impacts on our hydrosphere and biosphere?

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Emerging Environmental Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Good and Bad

As the COVID-19 pandemic scourges the planet, research and other efforts have focused on the human toll of the virus. Recent research has begun shedding light on the effects of COVID-19 on the environment. At first glance, these effects seem beneficial. However, many negative consequences also loom, particularly in the long-term.

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The invasive Kentucky bluegrass

The grass species known as Kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis) – contrary to its name – is not native to Kentucky nor is it blue (spoiler: it’s green). It is originally from Europe and northern Asia and is the most popular lawn grass in the Unites States. Unfortunately, it has also become a huge invasive problem in natural grassland environments.

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Sending ripples through environments: a new type of keystone species

Keystone species have ripple effects on the other organisms in their environments, but do any species have similar effects on the environment itself? The idea of a biogeomorphic keystone species captures this idea and, like that of keystone species, requires piecing together a complex web of interactions to understand the big picture. Two researchers in Kentucky present how two tree species have strong effects on their local stream environments, qualifying them as potential biogeomorphic keystone species.

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