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.

Read more

Invasive ant species is forming supercolonies across southwestern British Columbia, Canada

Ant supercolonies are taking over southwestern British Columbia. A study published in the Journal of the Entomological Society of British Columbia late last year provides evidence of at least two supercolonies of an invasive ant species, Myrmica rubra, inhabiting BC. Evidence from behavioral experiments demonstrates that this ant species behaves as if it has formed up to five different supercolonies across seven regions of southwestern BC.

Read more

Invader vs. Predator: Invasive species benefit from control of apex predators

Humans have laid claim to almost every habitable place on the globe, and in doing so, have brought with them many species causing introductions of foreign species to lands they would have otherwise never seen. “Invasive species” are an ecological hot topic these days. What is an invasive species? According to the NISIC (National Invasive Species Information Center) an invasive species is “non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause harm.” Many conservation groups, governments and activists have spent much time and money in efforts to get rid of these species and in order to control the effects they might have on their “native” counterparts. However, another group of animals has longer been threatened by man, the predator. The loss of predator species has not only led to changes in the way the regions they belonged to operate, but has also allowed for foreign species to flourish.

Read more

The long arm of invasive plants – how one invasive (Eleagnus umbellata, autumn olive) changes the soil microbial community

Invasive plants plague many parts of the US, from roadside environments to natural ecosystems. Research on one invasive plant, the autumn olive (Eleagnus umbellata), indicates that the soil microbial community changes based on proximity to the plant. Long-term changes in soil microbial communities might negatively impact restoration efforts.

Read more

Getting toad-smart: Endangered mammal learns to avoid lethal prey introduced by humans

Humans have transported plants and animals all over the world, causing dramatic habitat changes. In Australia, the human introduction of cane toads has caused devastating population losses for many Australian predators. Cane toads are deadly prey because their skin produces a lethal toxin. Can Australian predators learn to avoid this new lethal prey and avoid extinction?

Read more