Where have all the flowers gone? Climate change is driving the loss of forbs and diversity in Californian grasslands

Science predicts that climate change will disrupt many natural processes and cycles and there is ever increasing media coverage regarding expectations for Earth’s future under these pressures. Yet there is little popular discussion about how plant communities will be impacted by these changes despite the fact that they represent the first level of the food web, support entire ecosystems of species, and contain one of the only organisms that can capture free energy to produce life. Understanding the ways that these communities are changing and will change in the future is crucially important to seeing the full picture of how climate change will re-shape life as we know it.

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Begging birds: behavioral responses to human feeding in China

Bird feeding is a popular activity enjoyed around the globe. However, we don’t really understand how bird feeding can impact the behavior of birds. A new study from China took on this question by studying black-headed gulls. Read on to find out how food provisionings affected the behaviors of these birds

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Pollution in Polish Rivers, and the Cucumber Solution

Pollution is dangerous, both to humans and the ecosystems we care about. But researchers in Poland have studied the sources and dynamic movement of pollutants in rivers, and may have found potential in cucumbers to help improve the system.

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Escape in the Serengeti: Hyraxes have become accustomed to increasing human disturbances

As human population increases, many wild animals are increasingly exposed to the presence of humans. Furthermore, nature based tourism can also increase exposure of wild populations to humans. Read on to find out how hyraxes, small African mammals, have been affected by increasing encounters with humans.

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Listen for a Change: Bioacoustics in Restored Habitat Combats the Bird Decline

Excerpt: A recent study has revealed that 3 billion birds have disappeared since 1970 in North America. Restoring habitat can help reverse this loss, and technology in listening for birds can be a vital tool to see if this approach to restoring bird habitat is working.

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In Winter: Where the Cold-Blooded Wild Things Go

When days become shorter and the temperature outside begins to drop, our home interiors become warm, welcoming refuges from the rain and snow outside. We see the trees enter dormancy as they drop their leaves, and wildlife become busy preparing for winter: Many birds migrate, some mammals prepare to hibernate, but where do the smooth and scaly things go? The frogs? The snakes? The turtles? And without a fur coat and thick layer of blubber, it makes one wonder how they survive in prolonged freezing temperatures. As it turns out, behavioral and physiological adaptations – such as brumation and supercooling – allow many amphibians and reptiles to withstand some of our planet’s most extreme winter conditions.

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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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