How transient invaders can transform an ecosystem

February 25, 2020

Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Study finds microbes can alter an environment dramatically before dying out. (full article) 

Research That’s For the Birds: Grazed Land Increases Insect Food Supply for Sage Grouse

July 18, 2019

By Paige Embry Between 2012 and 2015 the researchers sampled plots in three different management situations: grazed, resting, and idle. The first two were plots being managed as part of a rest-rotation scheme meant to aid various conservation goals by mimicking the movement of wild herbivores. Ranchers create a series of pastures and move the animals through them so that each area gets a rest period of around 15 months. The researchers collected arthropods from pastures while they were actively being grazed as well as “resting” plots. (full article)

Study: Big sagebrush may weather climate change

March 4, 2019


While a warming climate has the potential to cause numerous harmful effects, at least one species important to the West could come out a winner — big sagebrush. (link)

‘Snowstorm’ Forage Kochia: A new species for rangeland rehabilitation

March 18, 2020

(full article) 

Satellite study of Amazon rainforest land cover gives insight into 2019 fires

February 25, 2020

University of Kansas.  A new study gives important context to the fires burning big swaths of the Amazon today. (full article) 

Harnessing tomato jumping genes could help speed-breed drought-resistant crops

February 25, 2020

University of Cambridge.  Once dismissed as ‘junk DNA’ that served no purpose, a family of ‘jumping genes’ found in tomatoes has the potential to accelerate crop breeding for traits such as improved drought resistance. (full article)

US national-scale study shows that invasive grasses promote wildfire

February 25, 2020

University of Massachusetts Amherst.  In a first large-scale analysis, ecologists report that invasive grasses can double the number of fires. One species, cheatgrass, has a well-earned reputation as a firestarter, making wildfires worse and more common. It is now clear that this involves more than a single species. The new analysis finds at least seven other non-native grasses can increase wildfire risk around the country, some doubling or even tripling the likelihood of fires in grass-invaded areas. (full article)

Major study shows climate change can cause abrupt impacts on dryland ecosystems

February 25, 2020

Swansea University.  A study finds for the first time that as levels of aridity increase due to climate change, abrupt changes are experienced on dryland ecosystems. (full article) 

Fossilized insect from 100 million years ago is oldest record of primitive bee with pollen

February 25, 2020

Oregon State University.  Beetle parasites clinging to a primitive bee 100 million years ago may have caused the flight error that, while deadly for the insect, is a boon for science today. (full article) 

Forest ‘duff’ must be considered in controlled burning to avoid damaging trees

February 25, 2020

Penn State.  Many decades of forest fire prevention and suppression has resulted in a thick buildup of organic matter on the forest floor in many regions of the United States, according to a researcher, whose new study suggests that the peculiar way that these layers burn should be considered in plans for controlled burns. (full article)