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 »

When it Rains, it’s Gonna Pour

Fires and floods are becoming all too common for coastal Southern California residents — but are these ‘extreme’ events likely to become even more frequent? Answering this question requires a comprehensive understanding of precipitation patterns in the region and how they are likely to change in the coming decades. Most previous research on climate change… Read more »

Keeping an eye out for drought

Screenshot from Drought Eye.

Researchers from Coweeta LTER are changing the way we monitor drought by showing that indicators of drought can be monitored at large spatial scales and in near real-time.

LTER Network News | April 2019

April 2019 LTER Network News is a forum for sharing news and activities from across the LTER Network. This is our water cooler. If you have personnel changes, new grants, cross-Network activities that might interest your LTER colleagues, please send them along to DECADAL REVIEW PROCESS The year 2020 is the 40th anniversary of… Read more »

LTER Road Trip: Zebra Mussels Arrive in Lake Mendota

Dane holds two mussel-encrusted concrete pieces.

In 2015, a group of undergraduates from the University of Wisconsin, Madison launched boats into Lake Mendota at the edge of campus, ready to put lessons from the classrooms to the test in hands-on field research activities. As they moved through research protocols, a student brought a metal pole from the soft bottom to the… Read more »

LTER Road Trip: Vegetation Surveys Under the Waves

Collecting and recording vegetation samples.

The North Temperate Lakes LTER vegetation survey team leapt out of their research boat, wetsuits and dive gear ready to go. The survey site bordered the opposite side of Trout Lake, a straight shot from the research facility and student dorms. Two bald eagles, native to this part of Northern Wisconsin, appeared disgruntled at our… Read more »

LTER Road Trip: Returning Fish Diversity to Crystal Lake

Hundreds of people rimmed Crystal Lake in Northern Wisconsin on a hot afternoon. I stood along the shoreline with Noah Lottig from the North Temperate Lakes (NTL) LTER, watching the flocking gulls surround swimmers wading in and out of the sandy edge. The lake looked beautiful, clear and surrounded by dark green trees and patches… Read more »

LTER Road Trip: Busy Bees at Kellogg Biological Station

A Kellogg bee box.

In a grassy clearing between crop hectares at the Kellogg Biological Station LTER, Dr. Nick Haddad, Principle Investigator, stares into the dark recesses of a bee box, set a few feet off the ground. The research team places the bees here while they’re still in cocoons. When they hatch, the bees gather fluorescent yellow, powdered… Read more »

Got Shrubs? Woody plants are changing ecological communities around the globe

The Knights Who Say “Ni” would be delighted by a growing trend across many of the planet’s major biomes—tree and grass species are being taken over by shrubbery. Unfortunately, this phenomenon isn’t so favorable for native vegetation that struggles to compete with an invading shrub army (the term ecologists often use is ‘woody plant encroachment’)…. Read more »

Integrating Human and Environmental Responses in Urban Ecology

Multidisciplinary research is a positive shift toward understanding the complexity of human-natural systems. However, combining social science and ecological science methods does not necessarily equate to integration of ideas. Drawing from their urban ecology and environmental anthropology backgrounds, a group of LTER researchers propose using conceptual frameworks that go beyond characterizing social-ecological interactions as stepwise… Read more »