A Balancing Act for Coastal Freshwater Marshes

On the boundaries of fresh and saltwater systems, coastal marshes give rise to diverse, productive ecosystems that act as carbon sinks. Their secret? Freshwater marsh plants receive just the right amount of nutrients and salt from periodic seawater tides to thrive. However, incursions of saltwater into these systems are increasing —often caused by drought and… Read more »

A Silver Lining in Arctic Permafrost Thaw

Climate change is already impacting polar habitats such as the Arctic tundra, where increasing temperatures are causing permafrost to thaw and exposing soil and organic matter that have been buried for thousands of years. Many scientists predicted that this soil, once exposed, would release a massive amount of sequestered carbon into the atmosphere, contributing 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.

2018 Ocean Science Meeting Presentations

The Ocean Sciences Meeting (OSM) has become an important venue for scientific exchange across a wide range of marine science disciplines, especially as human impacts on the oceans reach unprecedented levels. OSM, co-sponsored by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), and The Oceanography Society (TOS), will be held 11–16 February, in… Read more »

2017 AGU Presentations

AGU logo

At the 2017 AGU Fall Meeting, held at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, from December 11-15, 2017, dozens of LTER researchers will present new results on a range of topics, from how ecosystems recover from droughts and hurricanes to what manufactured ice storms can reveal about how to prepare for winter’s worst. Links to the abstracts for over 100 LTER presentations at AGU 2017.

A Changing Tide: Biodiversity on Sandy Beaches

Pile of kelp fronds on a beach

Credit: Ingrid Taylar. CC BY 2.0To maintain the image of a pristine beach—wide stretches of sand absent of fly-ridden piles of seaweed—managers often add sand to beaches and remove seaweed. This removal may lead to a more enjoyable experience for humans, but it constitutes a major loss of habitat for sandy beach critters, which use… Read more »

Wildfire Ponzi Scheme? The Continental Carbon Exchange

Wildfire in Alaskan black spruce forests.

If carbon is currency, wildfires are the brokers; that is, they distribute carbon between land and air. In the short-run, fire emits carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Over time, it also strengthens subsequent carbon uptake through plant regrowth. This exchange is like a natural Ponzi scheme – the carbon offsets from yesterday’s fires take up today’s emissions…. Read more »

Effects of Plant Colonization on Moss-Dominated Alpine Soils

moss

Credit: Marilylle Soveran CC BY-NC 2.0Moss and lichen make up a large portion of biomass in alpine and arctic ecosystems. With rising global temperatures, vascular plants have begun to colonize these moss-dominated ecosystems, potentially  altering the soil composition and ecosystem function of these unique environments. Researchers with the Niwot Ridge LTER investigated how bacterial composition,… Read more »

Tracking the king of the swamp

Alligator, close-up

Credit: Alexander Montuschi. CC BY-NC 2.0.Radio transmitters have moved beyond the days of talking to your friends through walkie talkies. They are now being used to track alligators, the rulers of the swamp, to learn more about their movements between freshwater and marine environments. Once attached, the GPS and radio transmission devices can track the… Read more »

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