Maintaining Ecosystem Services in the Yahara Watershed and Beyond

The Yahara may sound like the name of a vast desert, but it’s actually a 359-square mile watershed in southern Wisconsin. The Yahara Watershed is a mix of urbanized land (including the state capital), productive agriculture land, and a chain of lakes called the Yahara Lakes. Because of its diverse environment, the Yahara provides many… 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 »

Here Come the Shrubs: Rising Temps Allow Woody Plants to Encroach on Barrier Islands

As temperatures rise in many regions around the world, plant species whose ranges were previously limited by low temperature thresholds and intolerance to freezing are increasingly able to expand into new areas and possibly overtake established vegetation regimes. On Hog Island, an undeveloped barrier island off the coast of Virginia, a group of LTER researchers… Read more »

The Grasshopper Sparrow – Breeding Nomad of the Grassland Prairie

At first glance, the grasshopper sparrow may not look like much. Native to the tallgrass prairies of the American Great Plains, it’s a small brown and black-speckled bird with a wingspan of 8 inches. But this little bird is gaining recognition for its unusual behavior: it has an amazing ability to cover long distances over… Read more »

Grow with the flow: evaluating the interactive effects of seawater conditions on coral growth

Although coral reefs have been the subject of ecological studies for nearly a century, the role that environmental conditions play in coral development is still a partial mystery. LTER researchers at Mo’orea Coral Reef have been exploring coral-environmental interactions in an effort to better understand coral growth. The team recently investigated how two key abiotic… Read more »

Warmer winters have diverse effects on tree growth

Every step of a tree’s growth is on a strict time-table, from the first emergence of life sprouting up through the soil to the formation of vast green canopies that block out almost all of the sun’s light. These growth cycles (budding leaves, flowering, etc.) are controlled by various environmental factors that act as cues… Read more »

The secret biodiversity of Baltimore’s abandoned lots

If you live in a city, chances are you’ve seen an abandoned lot or two. While urban dwellers may not immediately think of vacant lots as harboring rare species and scenic natural vistas, they are are often candidates for urban conservation, restoration, or greening projects. The success of such projects depends on understanding what processes control… Read more »