Ecosystems

From Alaska to Amazonia: first global maps of traits that drive vegetation growth
December 4, 2017 09:17 AM - University of Minnesota

Detailed global maps of key traits in higher plants have been made available for the first time, thanks to work led by researchers from the University of Minnesota’s (UMN) College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS).

Study of Darwin's finches reveals that new species can develop in as little as two generations
December 4, 2017 08:31 AM - Princeton University

The arrival 36 years ago of a strange bird to a remote island in the Galápagos archipelago has provided direct genetic evidence of a novel way in which new species arise.

On Nov. 23 in the journal Science, researchers from Princeton University and Uppsala University in Sweden report that the newcomer belonging to one species mated with a member of another species resident on the island, giving rise to a new species that today consists of roughly 30 individuals.

Researcher develops app to identify poisonous mushrooms
December 4, 2017 08:31 AM - University of British Columbia (UBC)

Foraging is a centuries-old practice, but many of the mushrooms in British Columbia are just now being identified through DNA sequencing and the enthusiasm of amateur collectors.

Genes Found in Drought-Resistant Plants Could Accelerate Evolution of Water-Use Efficient Crops
December 1, 2017 12:28 PM - DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have identified a common set of genes that enable different drought-resistant plants to survive in semi-arid conditions, which could play a significant role in bioengineering and creating energy crops that are tolerant to water deficits.

Sea Level Rise Threatens Tens of Thousands of U.S. Historic Sites
December 1, 2017 11:32 AM - Yale Environment 360

An estimated 13,000 historic sites could be lost or damaged in the southeastern United States with just 3 feet of sea level rise, according to a new study by a team of archaeologists published in the journal PLOS One. More than 32,000 sites would be at risk if sea levels rise 15 feet.

African Protected Area Saving Endangered Megafauna
December 1, 2017 10:30 AM - University of Queensland

One of Africa’s last remaining wilderness areas is in good shape and could potentially support 50,000 elephants and 1000 lions, a University of Queensland-led study has found.

African Protected Area Saving Endangered Megafauna
December 1, 2017 10:30 AM - University of Queensland

One of Africa’s last remaining wilderness areas is in good shape and could potentially support 50,000 elephants and 1000 lions, a University of Queensland-led study has found.

Climate-Friendly Architecture Thanks to Natural Folding Mechanisms
November 30, 2017 01:41 PM - Technical University of Munich (TUM)

Active components on buildings such as blinds whose design was copied from naturally occurring solutions — that is the subject of the research conducted by a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the University of Freiburg, and the University of Stuttgart. The aim is to equip them with drive elements that can move without any electrical energy input. Serving as a model here are conifer pine cones, which utilize the varying swelling behaviors of their tissue to open when moist or close when dry.

When to fish: Timing matters for fish that migrate to reproduce
November 30, 2017 09:35 AM - University of Washington

It’s no secret that human activities affect fish, particularly those that must migrate to reproduce. Years of building dams and polluting rivers in some regions have left fish such as salmon struggling to return to their home streams and give birth to the next generation.

Climate Connection: Unraveling the Surprising Ecology of Dust
November 30, 2017 09:17 AM - Yale Environment 360

High in the snowfields atop the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, things are not as pristine as they used to be. Dust from the desert Southwest is sailing into the Rockies in increasing quantities and settling onto the snow that covers the peaks, often streaking the white surface with shades of red and brown.

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