Moving into the Hyporheic Zone

Climate change is causing some alpine streams to change from always flowing to flowing only part of the time. This is a challenge that the bugs in those streams have not had to face, but the might have a way out: hunkering down in the hyporheic zone, a subsurface component of the stream. By waiting out drought in this new environment, the bugs might be able to come back and resume life as normal when conditions are more favorable.

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To bugs in streams, fine sediment is not so fine

Clearing land for agriculture often leads to decreased flow velocities and in increase in fine sediment additions in nearby streams. While many stream bugs rely on small fine sediments, too much of it can detrimentally affect them. Changes to flow velocities and inputs of fine sediment in affected streams are not always equal in magnitude, so an experiment was run to see the responses of aquatic macroinvertebrates to various combinations of flow and sediment conditions. The scientists found fine sediments negatively impacted almost all stream bugs and that low flows exacerbated the problem.

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Native milkweed supports healthy monarch communities

“Monarch butterflies do really well on the exotic milkweed species that’s being widely sold and planted under current environmental conditions. But under warmer conditions, the exotic plant becomes too toxic and monarchs become less healthy.”

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Mentally “exhausted” honey bees—petroleum exhaust makes bees learn slower and forget faster

Scent pollution from exhaust fumes could disrupt the relationship between honey bees and the flowers they feed from and pollinate. The smell of flowers invites pollinators to come and feast on their nectar. But exhaust masks those smells, making it harder for bees to learn and remember the floral scents that cue them in to flowers.

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The global buzz: A call to restore insect biodiversity

Insects are in decline worldwide. Without a rethinking of current agricultural practices and a bucking of trends in urbanization, biodiversity of insects is threatened globally. Insects are the structural and functional base – the linchpin – of all ecosystems. We are part of those ecosystems. Unlike the vastness of climate change and its many aspects, the solutions to the problem of insect declines are readily available. With proper perspective, appreciation, and respect for the roles insects play in ecosystem integrity, human health, and economic markets, we can reverse course.

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