Plant communities likely to be “vastly different” in the future

Grassland plot experiments at Cedar Creek LTER in Minnesota.

Farmers have known for centuries that fertilizer and irrigation help boost crop growth. But how does long-term application of fertilizer and water affect the composition of surrounding plant communities? In a study based at the Cedar Creek LTER, early signs suggest that added water and nutrients support the survival of new species and encourage more… Read more »

Q&A with Lauren Alteio: First isolation of giant virus genomes in soil from a forest ecosystem

Soil sample collection from the Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts.

Researchers Frederik Schulz (US Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute) and Lauren Alteio (University of Massachusetts) have discovered sixteen new giant viruses in soil samples from a long-term research site at the Harvard Forest LTER, described in a Nature Communications paper published in November 2018. Giant viruses are larger than most single celled organisms, and tend… Read more »

The Devil’s in the Details for Kelp Forest Biodiversity

fish swimming through giant kelp forest

Kelp forests have long been known to harbor a high number and diversity of marine species, from tiny crustaceans to large fish and marine mammals. This biodiversity tends to be attributed to the complex structure and productivity of giant kelp, earning it the title ‘foundational species’. Surprisingly, however, little quantitative data has been assessed to… Read more »

LTER Road Trip: A Steep Transect at Coweeta Hydrologic Lab

Leaf litter basket at transect #327, used to measure rates of leaf fall.

I paused at the top of Coweeta Hydrologic Lab’s transect #327, peering down, down, down at the slope beneath me. Katie Bower, a research technician at Coweeta, and two summer interns had already started down the narrow pathway, accustomed to its slippery leaf layer and sharp contours. Taking a deep breath, I followed slowly behind.

LTER Road Trip: Coweeta Listening Project

Jason Meador of the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee talks to ICON students in Cat Creek.

I flip open my copy of The Franklin Press while sipping coffee at a field station, and there, in a bi-monthly column, is an article by Coweeta Hydrologic Lab staff, answering the scientific questions of local citizens. The column is just one part of the Coweeta Listening Project (CLP), an initiative of the Coweeta LTER.

LTER Road Trip: Slip-Sliding through the Decades

A tagged tree on transect #327 in Coweeta Experimental Forest.

I paused at the top of Coweeta Hydrologic Lab’s transect #327, peering down, down, down at the slope beneath me. Katie Bower, a research technician at Coweeta, and two summer interns had already started down the narrow pathway, accustomed to its slippery leaf layer and sharp contours.

Microbes respond quickly to fluctuating salt marsh conditions

The ebb and flow of the tide through coastal salt marshes brings wide swings in temperature, salinity, oxygen levels and pH. Many of these fluctuations occur at short timescales (e.g. multiple times per day) and have a profound impact on both the types of microorganisms that can exist in such a dynamic environment, and how… Read more »

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