Friend or foe? Invasive earthworms can benefit agriculture but harm forests

Earthworms are welcome guests in the garden, but it’s a different story in the forest. By consuming and removing leaf litter too fast they set in motion complex cascades of ecological changes, with long-term negative effects on soil fertility and biodiversity.

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Growing Conditions Improve with a Pinch

Salt marshes are full of crustacean inhabitants. In particular, fiddler crabs and purple marsh crabs of New England modify these coastal ecosystems by burrowing beneath the waterlogged soils, chewing up plants, and increasing nutrient exchange rates. But it is uncertain to what extent each species contributes to the modification of a salt marsh. Research by Alexandria Moore found the presence of crabs had a significant effect on multiple aspects of salt marsh health and that the herbivore, purple marsh crab, modifies salt marsh ecosystems beyond eating plants.

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Where the mangrove grows

A 65 meter tall mangrove. Imagine that. A tree growing in saltwater that is 20 stories tall. Considering the only mangroves I have seen look like shrubs, I couldn’t believe that some mangroves could reach such heights. But then I saw some photos on Twitter and talked with a scientist who is using new technology to estimate the enormous amount of carbon stored by these beastly coastal trees. Mind Blown.

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We’re all in this together: Climate-forest connections mean local tree deaths have widespread impacts

We know that forests can have a big local impact, but can they also have an impact on the climate on the other side of the continent? With climate change becoming a growing threat to our forests, a team of scientists looks to investigate what cross-continental connections exist between our forests and what they could mean for our future climate.

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