Ecosystems

Tree-climbing goats disperse seeds by spitting
May 24, 2017 03:33 PM - Ecological Society of America

In dry southern Morocco, domesticated goats climb to the precarious tippy tops of native argan trees to find fresh forage. Local herders occasionally prune the bushy, thorny trees for easier climbing and even help goat kids learn to climb. During the bare autumn season, goats spend three quarters of their foraging time “treetop grazing.”

Spanish ecologists have observed an unusual way in which the goats may be benefiting the trees: the goats spit the trees’ seeds. Miguel Delibes, Irene Castañeda, and José M Fedriani reported their discovery in the latest Natural History Note in the May issue of the Ecological Society of America’s journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. The paper is open access.

Going with the flow: The forces that affect species' movements in a changing climate
May 24, 2017 09:41 AM - Hokkaido University

A new study published in Scientific Reports provides novel insight into how species’ distributions change from the interaction between climate change and ocean currents.

Microhabitats enhance butterfly diversity in nature's imitation game
May 24, 2017 08:57 AM - St Johns College, University of Cambridge

The spectacular variety of colours and patterns that butterflies use to ward off potential predators may result from highly localised environmental conditions known as “microhabitats”, researchers have found.

Microhabitats enhance butterfly diversity in nature's imitation game
May 24, 2017 08:57 AM - St Johns College, University of Cambridge

The spectacular variety of colours and patterns that butterflies use to ward off potential predators may result from highly localised environmental conditions known as “microhabitats”, researchers have found.

Wolves need space to roam to control expanding coyote populations
May 24, 2017 08:16 AM - University of Washington

Wolves and other top predators need large ranges to be able to control smaller predators whose populations have expanded to the detriment of a balanced ecosystem.

That’s the main finding of a study appearing May 23 in Nature Communications that analyzed the relationship between top predators on three different continents and the next-in-line predators they eat and compete with. The results were similar across continents, showing that as top predators’ ranges were cut back and fragmented, they were no longer able to control smaller predators.

NOAA names University of Michigan to host cooperative institute for Great Lakes region
May 23, 2017 08:23 AM - NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration today announced it has selected the University of Michigan to continue hosting NOAA’s cooperative institute in the Great Lakes region. 

NOAA made the selection after an open, competitive evaluation to continue funding the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research (CIGLR), formerly called the Cooperative Institute for Limnology and Ecosystems Research. 

Vanishing Borneo: Saving One of the World's Last Great Places
May 19, 2017 02:13 PM - Alex Shoumatoff via Yale Environment 360

Palm oil is the second-most important oil in the modern consumer society, after petroleum. Producing it is a $50-billion-a-year business. It’s in a multitude of the household products in North America, Europe, and Australia: margarine, toothpaste, shampoo, lipstick, cookies, Nutella, you name it. Doritos are saturated with palm oil. It’s what gives chocolate bars their appetizing sheen – otherwise, they would look like mud. Palm oil has replaced artery-clogging ghee as India’s main cooking oil. India is now the major consumer of this clear, tasteless oil squeezed from the nuts of the oil-palm tree, Elais guyanensis, originally from West Africa, but now grown pantropically, mainly within ten degrees north and south of the Equator.

Vanishing Borneo: Saving One of the World's Last Great Places
May 19, 2017 02:13 PM - Alex Shoumatoff via Yale Environment 360

Palm oil is the second-most important oil in the modern consumer society, after petroleum. Producing it is a $50-billion-a-year business. It’s in a multitude of the household products in North America, Europe, and Australia: margarine, toothpaste, shampoo, lipstick, cookies, Nutella, you name it. Doritos are saturated with palm oil. It’s what gives chocolate bars their appetizing sheen – otherwise, they would look like mud. Palm oil has replaced artery-clogging ghee as India’s main cooking oil. India is now the major consumer of this clear, tasteless oil squeezed from the nuts of the oil-palm tree, Elais guyanensis, originally from West Africa, but now grown pantropically, mainly within ten degrees north and south of the Equator.

UCLA-led researchers track groundwater loss during drought in California's Central Valley
May 18, 2017 12:49 PM - Jessica Wolf via University of California - Los Angeles

A new study by researchers from UCLA and the University of Houston reveals significant groundwater loss in California’s Central Valley during the recent drought and sparks questions of sustainability for the important agricultural area.

Researchers tracked net groundwater consumption in the Central Valley from 2002 to 2016, which included two droughts, one from 2007 to 2009 and the more severe drought from 2012 to 2016. California’s Central Valley is more than 18,000 square miles from the coast to the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is one of the largest agricultural hubs in the United States, providing more than half of the U.S. fruit, vegetable and nut crops.

UCLA-led researchers track groundwater loss during drought in California's Central Valley
May 18, 2017 12:49 PM - Jessica Wolf via University of California - Los Angeles

A new study by researchers from UCLA and the University of Houston reveals significant groundwater loss in California’s Central Valley during the recent drought and sparks questions of sustainability for the important agricultural area.

Researchers tracked net groundwater consumption in the Central Valley from 2002 to 2016, which included two droughts, one from 2007 to 2009 and the more severe drought from 2012 to 2016. California’s Central Valley is more than 18,000 square miles from the coast to the Sierra Nevada Mountains and is one of the largest agricultural hubs in the United States, providing more than half of the U.S. fruit, vegetable and nut crops.

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