Feeling Salty About Climate Change? So Are Coastal Wetlands.

Coastal wetlands are disappearing fast – at a rate of >80,000 acres/year and rising. There are many threats to these ecosystems, one of which is “saltwater intrusion” – when saltwater is introduced into fresh bodies of water. A recent study looked at the effects of saltwater intrusion by mimicking the increased salinity experienced on a short-term basis (a hurricane) versus a long-term basis (sea level rise). The authors found that chronic saltwater intrusion had many impacts on water quality, microbial activity, greenhouse gas production, and vegetation in a tidal freshwater marsh in Georgia.

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What’s a Forest Without Trees?

Trees are one of the most important natural resources: they consume carbon dioxide and provide us with oxygen, building materials, and fuel. However, global forest degradation exceeds the total CO2 emissions in the US for both highway vehicles (1.7 Gt CO2e/year) and power generation (1.9 Gt CO2e/year)! A new study discusses the difference between deforestation and forest degradation and why it’s essential to account for both in greenhouse gas emissions management.

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Red Deer Takeover!

Most people would not think of red deer as powerful enough to take over farmers’ land. However, a recent increase of red deer population has devastated land in Slovakia and other European countries. A recent study determined the amount of forage red deer consume per season and the key elements affecting forage availability that determine the boom or bust of red deer.

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Mismatches between biodiversity research and policy needs – how can anyone compete with climate change?

If you would conduct a quick poll among the next twenty people you meet and ask them what they think the most important cause of global biodiversity loss is, there’s a good chance you would get a lot of the same two-word answer: climate change. In the English-speaking world today, there are few anthropogenic threats that appear in the news as often as often as climate change. While climate change is undeniably an important driver of biodiversity changes worldwide, there’s a risk that other equally important drivers have ended up too far from the scientific spotlight.

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Work smarter and harder: a fieldwork fable involving the investigation of lake greenhouse gas emissions

“Are you sure this is the ramp?” my colleague, Dr. Jake Beaulieu asked the head field researcher, Adam Balz, as we drove up to the site.

The three of us took in the view of the crumbling asphalt inclined plane that disappeared into the lake. According to the map, this was the boat launch. But the usage of the lake had changed from allowing motorized craft to “paddle craft only” several years ago, and now the disused ramp was covered in layers of sandy sediment.  

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Spawn of the Dead

Migratory animals such as the Pacific salmon are critical to the transport of nutrients and energy across large distances and between different ecosystems. However, along with important nutrients also come contaminants and pollutants. To understand the impacts of salmon, Brandon Gerig and colleagues investigate contaminant levels of riparian fish populations in streams where salmon runs do and do not occur in the Great Lakes region.

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What can we learn from the things in lakes?

We all know the saying right… An Ecosystem in Motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an outside force (aka humans), but what happens after that force hits? How does the ecosystem in question react? Does it crumble and die or does it dust itself off and try again?

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Warding Against Wildfires: How Well Does it Work?

You would have to be living under a rock not to know about the wildfires that seem to almost constantly be devastating the forests in western states like Colorado and Arizona. It seems like every couple of years, there is another new huge fire ravaging this portion of the United States of America. But, why are these wildfires so common and what can we do to stop them?

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Homeward Bound: Salmon Straying in the Pacific Northwest

For salmon to complete their life cycle, juveniles must migrate out to the ocean and return as adults to spawn in the river where they were born. Adult salmon find their way back to their natal river after years at sea through a process called “homing”, a phenomenon that scientists still don’t fully understand. Some salmon never make it home at all, which can have lasting effects on populations. Read on to learn more!

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River Streams Benefit from Fallen Trees

Rivers have suffered the most from human urbanization. Damming, river straightening and removal of large woody debris have disrupted many natural processes essential for healthy habitats of fish, insects and algae. Many land managers have returned fallen trees back into rivers in hopes to improve habitat quality. It wasn’t until this research by Thompson and colleagues that there was clear evidence that this management strategy was successful.

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