It’s all in the genes: how water pollution keeps silver carp at bay.

Silver carp are a notorious invasive fish that are spreading throughout the Mississippi River Basin. Despite their rapid-fire range expansion, silver carp have yet to make it to the Great Lakes. A recent study explores the possibility that polluted Chicago-area waters may be preventing the spread of silver carp into Lake Michigan and beyond.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.”

Read more

Dumpster diving diet: city rats have higher protein diet distinct from other rural mammals

Rats have shared our cities for a long time. Because of this they can be used a model to learn more about how animals colonized cities and what features of cities can be advantageous for some species. A new study focuses their attention on whether 19th century city mice had an advantage over their rural neighbors. Read on to find out more!

Read more

Islands and Alleles: How genetics can help protect endangered species

When talking about diversity in the natural world, we often think of the bright colors and bold patterns of fish gliding among a reef, or the variety of flying, creeping, and crawling critters found in the layers of a rainforest canopy. However, diversity even within a single species is an important indicator of a population’s health and stability. This type of diversity can be invisible to us when contained in the form of genes that control which traits organisms possess. In this study, scientists helped us to see the invisible diversity of an endangered skink and learn how to more effectively conserve this diversity.

Read more

Out with the new, in with the old: can removing Asian carp benefit native fish populations?

Asian carp have been plaguing the waters of the Mississippi River Basin for over 40 years. As an invasive species, Asian carp often out-compete native species and decimate food webs. Many control measures have been proposed and implemented to mitigate the presence of Asian carp, and some methods are working. Now, the question is, with the removal of Asian carp, can native fish populations rebound and thrive in their natural environment once again?

Read more

Frostbitten toads: Are cane toads adapting to the cold as they move northwards in Florida?

How might animals respond to global climate change? A new study evaluates the northbound expansion of cane toads in Florida. Toads in northern Florida are tolerating freezing temperatures that are colder than they have previously been able to live in. Read on to find out how the cane toads tolerate freezing and what this teaches us about how other animals might respond to global climate change.

Read more