Search Results for: trees and the city

Trees and the city

A neighborhood with many tree species and a lot of tree cover.

The activities are as follows:

We often imagine nature as being a place outside of cities. But within our cities, we are surrounded by nature – in fact, most human interactions with nature happen within urban areas. Picturing a tree, we might imagine it in a remote forest, yet many trees are planted by residents and local governments within cities. Trees provide important benefits, such as beauty and shade. The number and types of tree species that are planted in a neighborhood can increase the benefits received from trees in urban areas.

When Adrienne first moved to the Twin Cities in Minnesota, she started exploring Minneapolis and St. Paul by bike. Biking is done at a slow enough pace that she can travel long distances but still make observations about neighborhoods in these cities. As an ecologist, she naturally found herself looking for patterns in trees. For example, she noticed some older neighborhoods in St. Paul have a lot of large trees that provide plenty of shade and tree cover. In other neighborhoods, Adrienne saw fewer types of trees and noticed that she spent less time shaded by branches and leaves.

Adrienne biking around Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Adrienne started conversations with her colleagues about their observations of differences in urban landscapes. They discussed the ways in which laws, policies, and practices (“the way things are done”) give advantages to certain groups of people over others. These advantages are woven into our cultural systems.

Adrienne and her fellow researchers expected that neighborhoods with wealthier and more white residents would have benefited from a long history of greater investment.

Therefore, these neighborhoods were expected to have greater tree cover from the large old trees that have been growing there for many years. They also expected these neighborhoods would have more types of trees. In contrast, the researchers expected that less wealthy neighborhoods and those with a greater percentage of Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) would have less tree cover and fewer types of trees because of chronic lower investment in these neighborhoods.

To research these ideas, Adrienne and her colleagues combined three different sources of publicly available data:

  • U.S. Census data, used to estimate % BIPOC and average median household income per ‘Block Group’ (similar to a neighborhood).
  • Satellite images, which are often used to estimate % tree cover, measure the percent of land area covered by the tree canopy. Adrienne looked at tree cover in the Block Group areas used in the Census.
  • City data that include the location and species for each tree planted along public streets to calculate tree species richness in each Block Group. Tree species richness is the number of different tree species in an area and is a measure of tree biodiversity used by many ecologists.

Featured scientists: Adrienne Keller (she/her) from the University of Minnesota

The data in this activity are from the MSP Long-term Ecological Research Site. The focus of the research at this site is centered on ecological interactions in urban environments. You can learn more here.

Flesch–Kincaid Reading Grade Level = 9.4

Additional teacher resources related to this Data Nugget include:

  • You can have students read more about environmental justice research from the MSP LTER in this peer-reviewed article (email us at datanuggetsk16@gmail.com if you need a downloadable version):
    • Rebecca H. Walker, Hannah Ramer, Kate D. Derickson & Bonnie L. Keeler (2023) Making the City of Lakes: Whiteness, Nature, and Urban Development in Minneapolis. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, DOI: 10.1080/24694452.2022.2155606
  • This short video features Adrienne as she describes the motivation and process behind her research study.

Sticky situations: big and small animals with sticky feet

Travis in the lab measuring the stickiness of a gecko’s toe.

Travis in the lab measuring the stickiness of a gecko’s toe.

The activities are as follows:

Species are able to do so many amazing things, from birds soaring in the air, lizards hanging upside-down from ceilings, and trees growing hundreds of feet tall. The study of biomechanics looks at living things from an engineering point of view to study these amazing abilities and discover why species come in such a huge variety of shapes and sizes. Biomechanics can improve our understanding of how plants and animals have adapted to their environments. We can also take what we learn from biology and apply it to our own inventions in a process called biomimicry. Using this approach, scientists have built robotic jellyfish to survey the oceans, walking robots to help transport goods, and fabrics that repel stains like water rolling off a lotus leaf.

Travis studies biomechanics and is interested in the ability of some species to climb and stick to walls. Sticky, or adhesive, toe pads have evolved in many different kinds of animals, including insects, arachnids, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. Some animals, like frogs, bats, and bugs use suction cups to hold up their weight. Others, like geckos, beetles, and spiders have toe pads covered in tiny, branched hairs. These hairs actually adhere to the wall! Electrons in the molecules that make up the hairs interact with electrons in the molecules of the surface they’re climbing on, creating a weak and temporary attraction between the hairs and the surface. These weak attractions are called van der Waals forces.

Travis catching lizards in the Dominican Republic.

Travis catching lizards in the Dominican Republic.

The heavier the animal, the more adhesion they will need to stick and support their mass. With a larger toe surface area, more hairs can come in contact with the climbing surface, or the bigger the suction cup can be. For tiny species like mites and flies, tiny toes can do the job. Each fly toe only has to be able to support a small amount of weight. But when looking at larger animals like geckos, their increased weight means they need much larger toe pads to support them.

When comparing large and small objects, the mass of large objects grows much faster then their surface area does. As a result, larger species have to support more mass per amount of toe area and likely need to have non-proportionally larger toes than those needed by lighter species. This results in geckos having some crazy looking feet! This relationship between mass and surface area led Travis to hypothesize that larger species have evolved non-proportionally larger toe pads, which would allow them to support their weight and stick to surfaces.

To investigate this idea, Travis looked at the data published in a paper by David Labonte and fellow scientists. In their paper they measured toe pad surface area and mass of individual animals from 17 orders (225 species) including insects, arachnids, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. From their data, Travis calculated the average toe pad area and mass for each order.

Travis then plotted each order’s mass and toe pad area on logarithmic axes so it is easier to compare very small and very large values. Unlike a standard axis where the amount represented between tick marks is always the same, on logarithmic axes each tick mark increases by 10 times the previous value. For example, if the first tick represents 1.0, the second tick will be 10, and the next 100. As an example, look at the graphs below.

gecko-graph

The left plot shows hypothetical gecko species of different sizes, but with proportional toes. Their mass per toe pad area ratio (g/mm2) varies, with larger species having larger g/mm2 ratios. In this case, larger species have to support more mass per toe pad area. In the right plot, larger gecko species have disproportionally larger toes. These differences change each species’ mass per toe pad area ratios, so that all species, regardless of their size, have the same mass per toe pad area ratio.

Featured scientists: David Labonte, Christofer J. Clemente, Alex Dittrich, Chi-Yun Kuo, Alfred J. Crosby, Duncan J. Irschick, and Walter Federle. Written by: Travis Hagey

Data Nugget Flesch–Kincaid Reading Grade Level = 10.3

Scaling Up – Math Activity Flesch–Kincaid Reading Grade Level = 9.5

There is a scientific paper associated with the data in this Data Nugget. The data was used with permission from D. Labonte.

Labonte, D., Clemente, C.J., Dittrich, A., Kuo, C.Y., Crosby, A.J., Irschick, D.J. and Federle, W., 2016. Extreme positive allometry of animal adhesive pads and the size limits of adhesion-based climbing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, p.201519459.

To learn more about Travis and his research on geckos, read this blog post, “An evolving sticky situation” and check out the video below!

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For a video and article on using “gecko power” to scale a building, check out this article – Climbing a Glass Building? Try a Gecko’s Sticky Pads


dr-fowleriAbout Travis: Ever since Travis was a kid, he was interested in animals and wanted to be a paleontologist. He even had many dinosaur names memorized to back it up! In college he discovered evolutionary biology, which drove him to apply for graduate school and become a scientist. There, he fell in love with comparative biomechanics, which combines evolutionary biology and mechanical engineering. Today Travis studies geckos and their sticky toes that allow them to scale surfaces like glass windows and tree branches.

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Lizards, iguanas, and snakes! Oh my!

The Common Side-blotched Lizard

The Common Side-blotched Lizard

The activities are as follows:

Throughout history people have settled mainly along rivers and streams. Easy access to water provides resources to support many people living in one area. In the United States today, people have settled along 70% of rivers.

Today, rivers are very different from what they were like before people settled near them. The land surrounding these rivers, called riparian habitats, has been transformed into land for farming, businesses, or housing for people. This urbanization has caused the loss of green spaces that provide valuable services, such as water filtration, species diversity, and a connection to nature for people living in cities. Today, people are trying to restore green spaces along the river to bring back these services. Restoration of disturbed riparian habitats will hopefully bring back native species and all the other benefits these habitats provide.

Scientist Mélanie searching for reptiles in the Central Arizona-Phoenix LTER.

Scientist Mélanie searching for reptiles in the Central Arizona-Phoenix LTER.

Scientists Heather and Mélanie are researchers with the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER) project. They want to know how restoration will affect animals living near rivers. They are particularly interested in reptiles, such as lizards. Reptiles play important roles in riparian habitats. Reptiles help energy flow and nutrient cycling. This means that if reptiles live in restored riparian habitats, they could increase the long-term health of those habitats. Reptiles can also offer clues about the condition of an ecosystem. Areas where reptiles are found are usually in better condition than areas where reptiles do not live.

Heather and Mélanie wanted to look at how disturbances in riparian habitats affected reptiles. They wanted to know if reptile abundance (number of individuals) and diversity (number of species) would be different in areas that were more developed. Some reptile species may be sensitive to urbanization, but if these habitats are restored their diversity and abundance might increase or return to pre-urbanization levels. The scientists collected data along the Salt River in Arizona. They had three sites: 1) a non-urban site, 2) an urban disturbed site, and 3) an urban rehabilitated site. They counted reptiles that they saw during a survey. At each site, they searched 21 plots that were 10 meters wide and 20 meters long. The sites were located along 7 transects, or paths measured out to collect data. Transects were laid out along the riparian habitat of the stream and there were 3 plots per transect. Each plot was surveyed 5 times. They searched for animals on the ground, under rocks, and in trees and shrubs.

Featured scientists: Heather Bateman and Mélanie Banville from Arizona State University. Written by Monica Elser from Arizona State University.

Flesch–Kincaid Reading Grade Level = 9.8

Check out this video of Heather and her lab out in the field collecting lizards:

Virtual field trip to the Salt River biodiversity project:

Additional resources related to this Data Nugget:

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Helping students hear the stories that data tell

Article Highlights

High school students work with a Data Nuggets module.
High school students work with a Data Nuggets module. Credit: Paul Strode
  • Michigan State University’s Data Nuggets program is starting its third round of funding from the National Science Foundation to improve data literacy in K-16 students.
  • The program, operated by the Kellogg Biological Station, also introduces real STEM professionals through storytelling, helping students better relate to their projects and engage more deeply with the program’s content.
  • In collaboration with Auburn University, the newest NSF grant will help Data Nuggets further that engagement and introduce students to a greater diversity of scientists.

A data literacy program that’s also changing students’ relationships with science and scientists is entering its third round of funding with a new $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

In collaboration with Auburn University, the Data Nuggets program at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, or KBS, will work to identify factors that improve equity and success in undergraduate STEM education.

Launched by Michigan State University in 2011, Data Nuggets is a curriculum development project designed to help students better understand and use data. The program shows how professionals in science, technology, engineering and math really work with data by sharing their stories, which also enables students to relate on a much more personal level.  

Data Nuggets challenges students from kindergarten through undergraduate levels to answer scientific questions using data to support their claims. The questions and data originate from real research provided by scientists whose studies range from physics to ecology to animal behavior. 

To add the personal element, Data Nuggets is collaborating with Project Biodiversify — another education program started at MSU — to add the scientists’ bios, which include information like hobbies and their lives outside of science. This helps students relate to the researchers and see them less as strangers in lab coats and more as scientific role models. 

“We’ve found that it’s the scientists that are engaging students in the activities,” said Elizabeth Schultheis, co-leader of the Data Nuggets program. “If they connect to the role model, then you can get students to do the data literacy activities because they know, ‘Oh, this is a real person. I relate to this person. And I’m working with authentic, real data. I’m not just doing busy work.’” 

Schultheis, who earned her doctorate in plant biology from MSU, is also the education and outreach coordinator for the Long-Term Ecological Research, or LTER, program at KBS, which supports Data Nuggets. Schultheis and co-leader, Melissa Kjelvik, developed and run the program, forming partnerships to research and fund the program.

“With our current research, we’re trying to figure out what is the special thing that’s really resonating with students in terms of the role models,” Kjelvik said.

“Our research will investigate how and why role models are critically important for students,” said Cissy Ballen. Ballen is an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Auburn, the lead institution on the NSF grant, which builds on the past success of Data Nuggets and will help ensure its future impact.

“The theory behind this is that students must be able to see a scientist’s success as attainable to relate to that scientist,” Ballen said. “My prediction is that students will find success most relatable when they see some scientists, like them, have struggled with science, but then were able to overcome that struggle.” 

Elizabeth Schultheis (right) and Melissa Kjelvik (left) lead the Data Nuggets program at Michigan State University’s W.K. Kellogg Biological Station.
Elizabeth Schultheis (right) and Melissa Kjelvik (left) lead the Data Nuggets program at Michigan State University’s W.K. Kellogg Biological Station.

Making data talk

Many students’ eyes gloss over when they hear terms like “data” or “science.” 

Even Schultheis admits she didn’t appreciate the significance of data until she was a grad student collecting her own. The problem, she said, is that kids are often taught how to make a graph, for example, but not why.

“I never really learned to care until I understood the reason I make a graph is because I want to answer a question,” Schultheis explained. “I need to see the data, what it looks like. And that’s why I make a graph.” 

Data Nuggets doesn’t change the skills that are taught in conventional curricula. Students still learn how to make and label axes, for example, and then how to plot data to create graphs. But they also get a more immersive introduction into why real people use these skills.

“Our purpose with these Data Nuggets modules is that everything is always given real context and always in service of a scientific question,” Schultheis said. “It’s always: Here’s a scientist. Here’s the question that they really care about and the reason they collected this data is because they want to answer this question. And you make the graph to visualize it so that you can see what the data is telling you.”

Data Nugget activities come in four levels, so instructors can use the ones best suited for their specific classes. Level 4 activities are designed for high schoolers and undergraduates, while level 1 activities are appropriate for elementary schools and higher grades looking for a refresher after a summer break, for example.

Teachers also have flexibility with how to present an activity based on their goals. For example, instructors can choose activities with completed graphs so students can focus on interpreting what they see to answer questions.

Or students can be given blank grids to give them experience in creating useful representations of data from scratch.

Connie High, a science teacher at Delton Kellogg High School about five miles from KBS, calls Data Nuggets “a game changer.”  

She said that her students, when they’re new to Data Nuggets, can usually make claims and find supporting evidence. The challenge is learning how to articulate the connection between the two.

“They really struggle with how to link claim, evidence and reasoning. They tend to just restate the evidence again,” High said. 

“With Data Nuggets, we definitely see an improvement from the beginning of the year to the end.” 

Humanizing data 

The Data Nuggets program started 13 years ago as a grassroots collaboration between KBS researchers — including Schultheis and Kjelvik, who were then grad students at KBS — and K-12 teachers, including High. 

More than 120 scientists have contributed more than 120 data literacy activities since then. Tens of thousands of people regularly use the Data Nuggets website. Links to various Data Nuggets stories can even be found in science textbooks. 

“Long-term relationship building is why we got such good insights from teachers about what their students needed, because they already had trust with us, and we went into their classrooms and learned from them,” Schultheis said. “And building relationships with scientists who trust us to tell their stories correctly, who are giving their own stories for students to read and learn about, continues to be critical to our success.”

But exactly how to best package and present the data stories falls to Schultheis and her colleagues. Previous research has supported the idea that focusing on the scientist and why they collected the data is essential. After all, data is just numbers. It’s human interaction that puts numbers in perspective, gives the scientific question context and engages students in the activity.

“Humanizing the data is at the crux of this work,” Ballen said. “Data Nuggets is such a successful resource because of the way they humanize the data component and contextualize it within the science itself and show that it’s being done by relatable scientists. They do that really well.”

With its third round of NSF funding, Data Nuggets is attempting to fine-tune how to best present the scientist role models and the stories to improve student engagement with science even more.

The goal is not only to increase the portrayal of under-represented groups among scientist contributors, but also for students to see that they share some things in common with the scientists they see. 

“We used to ask students to draw what a scientist looks like, and they all would draw someone who looks like Albert Einstein,” High said. “It’s incredibly important that they see there are scientists who look like them.”

“You can imagine if you were a student sitting in a classroom you might get an activity that features a scientist from a prestigious university with awards and that sort of thing, and that might not be very relatable,” Ballen said. “Success might not be perceived as attainable.”

Data Nuggets is working to combat that perception.

For example, there’s a Data Nugget called “Trees and the City”, featuring a photo of a smiling University of Minnesota ecologist named Adrienne Keller wearing a bike helmet and sunglasses. A video shows Keller riding her bike through neighborhoods in the Twin Cities as she describes her interest in tree patterns. She poses her dataset’s main question: “Are there differences in the total canopy cover or the number of tree species planted in a neighborhood based on residents’ income level or percentage of BIPOC — Black, Indigenous, and People of Color — residents?”

Another Data Nugget was written by a community scientist from Bayfield, Wisconsin, located on the south shore of Lake Superior. He’s pictured wearing shorts and gym shoes as he stands on ice. 

For his Nugget, he used historical data to answer his question if the winters were getting shorter and changing the dynamics of how people could travel in the area. 

He also happened to be a high school student.

“That’s the dream outcome,” Schultheis said, “that students realize how powerful data are, and they can be advocates for themselves and their communities because they can actually go to the source of information and ask and answer questions.” 


This story was written by Lynn Waldsmith, and was originally posted on the Michigan State University, College of Natural Science website here.

Are forests helping in the fight against climate change?

Bill setting up a large metal tower in Harvard Forest in 1989, used to measure long-term CO2 exchange.

The activities are as follows:

As humans drive cars and use electricity, we release carbon in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air. Because COhelps to trap heat near the surface of the earth, it is known as a greenhouse gas and contributes to climate change. However, carbon is also an important piece of natural ecosystems, because all living organisms contain carbon. For example, when plants photosynthesize, they take COfrom the air and turn it into other forms of carbon: sugars for food and structural compounds to build their stems, roots, and leaves. When the carbon in a living tree’s trunk, roots, leaves, and branches stays there for a long time, the carbon is kept out of the air. This carbon storage helps reduce the amount of COin the atmosphere. However, not all of the COthat trees take from the air during photosynthesis remains as part of the tree. Some of that carbon returns to the air during a process called respiration.

Another important part of the forest carbon cycle happens when trees drop their leaves and branches or die. The carbon that the tree has stored breaks down in a process called decomposition. Some of the stored carbon returns to the air as CO2, but the rest of the carbon in those dead leaves and branches builds up on the forest floor, slowly becoming soil. Once carbon is stored in soil, it stays there for a long time. We can think of forests as a balancing act between carbon building up in trees and soil, and carbon released to the air by decomposition and respiration. When a forest is building up more carbon than it is releasing, we call that area a carbon sink, because overall more COis “sinking” into the forest and staying there. On the other hand, when more carbon is being released by the forest through decomposition and respiration, that area is a carbon source, because the forest is adding more carbon back into the atmosphere than it is taking in through photosynthesis.

In the 1990s, scientists began to wonder what role forests were having in this exchange of carbon in and out of the atmosphere. Were forests overall storing carbon (carbon sink), or releasing it (carbon source)? Bill is one of the scientists who decided to explore this question. Bill works at the Harvard Forest in central Massachusetts, a Long-Term Ecological Research site that specializes in setting up big experiments to learn how the environment works. Bill and his team of scientists realized they could measure the COcoming into and out of an entire forest. They built large metal towers that stand taller than the forest trees around them and use sensors to measure the speed, direction, and COconcentration of each puff of air that passes by. Bill compares the COin the air coming from the forest to the ones moving down into the forest from the atmosphere. With the COdata from both directions, Bill calculates the Net Ecosystem Exchange (or NEE for short). When more carbon is moving into the forest than out, NEE is a negative number because COis being taken out of the air. This often happens during the summer when trees are getting a lot of light and are therefore photosynthesizing. When more COis leaving the forest, it means that decomposition and respiration are greater than photosynthesis and the NEE is a positive number. This typically happens at night and in the winter, when trees aren’t photosynthesizing but respiration and decomposition still occur. By adding up the NEE of each hour over a whole year, Bill finds the total amount of COthe forest is adding or removing from the atmosphere that year.

Bill and his team were very interested in understanding NEE because of how important it is to the global carbon cycle, and therefore to climate change. They wanted to know which factors might cause the NEE of a forest to vary. Bill and other scientists collected data on carbon entering and leaving Harvard Forest for many years to see if they could find any patterns in NEE over time. By looking at how the NEE changes over time, predictions can be made about the future: are forests taking up more COthan they release? Will they continue to do so under future climate change?

Featured scientist: Bill Munger from Harvard University. Written by: Fiona Jevon.

Flesch–Kincaid Reading Grade Level = 10.5

Additional teacher resource related to this Data Nugget:

  • There are several publications based on the data from the Harvard Forest LTER. Citations below:
    • Wofsy, S.C., Goulden, M.L., Munger, J.W., Fan, S.M., Bakwin, P.S., Daube, B.C., Bassow, S.L. and Bazzaz, F.A., 1993. Net exchange of CO2 in a mid-latitude forest. Science260(5112), pp.1314-1317.
    • Goulden, M.L., Munger, J.W., Fan, S.M., Daube, B.C. and Wofsy, S.C., 1996. Exchange of carbon dioxide by a deciduous forest: response to interannual climate variability. Science271(5255), pp.1576-1578.
    • Barford, C.C., Wofsy, S.C., Goulden, M.L., Munger, J.W., Pyle, E.H., Urbanski, S.P., Hutyra, L., Saleska, S.R., Fitzjarrald, D. and Moore, K., 2001. Factors controlling long-and short-term sequestration of atmospheric CO2 in a mid-latitude forest. Science294(5547), pp.1688-1691.
    • Urbanski, S., Barford, C., Wofsy, S., Kucharik, C., Pyle, E., Budney, J., McKain, K., Fitzjarrald, D., Czikowsky, M. and Munger, J.W., 2007. Factors controlling CO2 exchange on timescales from hourly to decadal at Harvard Forest. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences112(G2).
    • Wehr, R., Munger, J.W., McManus, J.B., Nelson, D.D., Zahniser, M.S., Davidson, E.A., Wofsy, S.C. and Saleska, S.R., 2016. Seasonality of temperate forest photosynthesis and daytime respiration. Nature534(7609), p.680.
  • Our Changing Forests Schoolyard Ecology project – Do your students want to get involved with research monitoring carbon cycles in forests? Check out this hands-on field investigation, led by a team of Ecologists at Harvard Forest. Students can contribute to this study by monitoring a 20 meter by 20 meter plot in a wooded area near their schools.
  • Video showcasing 30 years of research at the Harvard Forest LTER
  • A cool article about the diversity of research being done at Harvard Forest – Researchers blown away by hurricane simulation
  • Additional images from Harvard Forest, diagrams of NEE, and a vocabulary list can be found in this PowerPoint.

LTER Data Nuggets

The following Data Nuggets are written by LTER scientists and created using LTER Data.

To learn more about the ongoing collaboration between Data Nuggets and the LTER, check out our blog posts, “Data Nuggets: small activities with big impacts for students” and “LTER Data Nuggets: Breathing new life into long-term data“. If you have any questions about the research in an LTER Data Nugget, or want help accessing original datasets, please contact us or the Education and Outreach Coordinator (EOC) for that site. 

TitleLTER SiteEOC & WebsiteContent LevelSummary
All washed up? The effect of floods on cutthroat troutAndrews Forest LTERKari O'Connell2Floods are very common disturbances in streams. If floods happen right after fish breed and eggs hatch, young fish that cannot swim strongly may not survive. Although floods can be dangerous for fish, they are also very important for creating new habitat. Cutthroat trout are a species of fish living in Mack Creek, which experiences occasional floods. Trout breed in the early spring, right at the peak of flooding, so scientists are collecting long-term data on this species. Will floods hurt trout populations or help?
Trees and bushes, home sweet home for warblersAndrews Forest LTERKari O'Connell4The vast coniferous forests of the Pacific Northwest provide surprisingly rich and diverse habitat types for birds. Andrews Forest is a long-term ecological research site where there have been manipulations of timber harvest and forest re-growth. This land use history has large impacts on the bird habitats found in an area. Each year since 2009, scientists have gone out and measured bird populations and habitat types. Two species of warbler, with very different habitat preferences, can give insight into how birds are responding to these disturbances.
Streams as sensors: Arctic watersheds as indicators of changeArctic LTERAmanda Morrison3As the world warms from climate change, the Alaskan Arctic is heating up. This is causing permafrost, or the frozen underground layer of rock and ice, to melt. When permafrost melts, plant material that has been stored for thousands of years begins to decay, releasing carbon and nitrogen from the system. Ecologists can act like “ecosystem accountants” measuring the balance of material that goes into and out of these systems.
Limit by limit: Nutrients control algal growth in Arctic streamsArctic LTERAmanda Morrison3Aquatic algae, a type of microbe that live in the water, need to take in nutrients from their surroundings for growth. Two important nutrients for algal growth are nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P). Climate change may be altering which nutrients are limiting to algae, changing food webs in the ecosystem.
Which tundra plants will win the climate change race?Arctic LTERAmanda Morrison3While you might think of the arctic tundra as a blanket of snow and polar bears, this vast landscape supports a diversity of unique plant and animal species. Climate change is altering the arctic environment. With warmer seasons and fewer days with snow covering the ground, soils are thawing more deeply and becoming more nutrient-rich. With more nutrients available, will some plant species be able to outcompete other species by growing taller and making more leaves than other plant species?
Spiders under the influenceBaltimore Ecosystem Study LTERBess Caplan & Alan Berkowitz2People use pharmaceutical drugs, personal care products, and other chemicals on a daily basis. Often, they get washed down our drains and end up in local waterways. Chris knew that many types of spiders live near streams and are exposed to toxins through the prey they eat. Chris wanted to compare effects of the chemicals on spiders in rural and urban environments. By comparing spider webs in these two habitats, they could see how different the webs are and infer how many chemicals are in the waterways.
Benthic buddiesBeaufort Lagoon Ecosystems LTERKatie Gavenus2Arctic lagoons support a surprisingly wide range of marine organisms! Marine worms, snails, and clams live in the muddy sediment of these lagoons. Having a rich variety of benthic animals in these habitats supports fish, which migrate along the shoreline and eat these animals once the ice has left. Ken, Danny, and Kaylie are interested in learning more about how the extreme seasons of the High Arctic affect the marine life that lives there.
DSC_0060The birds of Hubbard Brook, Part IHubbard Brook Experimental ForestSarah Garlick & Amey Bailey2Avian ecologists at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest have been monitoring bird populations for over 50 years. The data collected during this time is one of the longest bird studies ever conducted! What can we learn from this long-term data set? Are bird populations remaining stable over time?
DSC_0060The birds of Hubbard Brook, Part IIHubbard Brook Experimental ForestSarah Garlick & Amey Bailey3Hubbard Brook was heavily logged and disturbed in the early 1900s. When logging ended in 1915, trees began to grow back. The forest then went through secondary succession, which refers to the naturally occurring changes in forest structure that happen as a forest ages after it has been cut or otherwise disturbed. Can these changes in habitat availability, due to succession, explain why the number of birds are declining at Hubbard Brook? Are all bird species responding succession in the same way?
When whale I sea you again?Palmer Station Antarctica LTER Janice McDonnell4People have hunted whales for over 5,000 years for their meat, oil, and blubber. Today, as populations are struggling to recover from whaling, humpback whales are faced with additional challenges due to climate change. Their main food source is krill, which are small crustaceans that live under sea ice. As sea ice disappears, the number of krill is getting lower and lower. Humpback whale population recovery may be limited because their main food source is threatened by ongoing ocean warming.
DSC_0060Lizards, iguanas, and snakes! Oh my!Central Arizona–Phoenix LTER Lisa Herrmann3People have dramatically changed the natural riparian habitat found along rivers and streams. In many urban areas today, these riparian habitats are being rehabilitated with the hope of bringing back native species, such as reptiles. Reptiles, including snakes and lizards, are extremely important to monitor as they play important roles in ecosystems. Are rehabilitation efforts in Phoenix successful at restoring reptile diversity and abundance?
Bringing back the Trumpeter SwanKellogg Biological Station LTER & Kellogg Bird SanctuaryLiz Schultheis & Kara Haas3Trumpeter swans are the biggest native waterfowl species in North America. At one time they were found across North America, but by 1935 there were only 69 known individuals in the continental U.S.! In the 1980s, many biologists came together to create a Trumpeter Swan reintroduction plan. Since then the North American Trumpeter Swan survey has been conducted to measure swan populations and determine whether this species is recovering.
DSC_0060Growing energy: comparing biofuel crop biomassKellogg Biological Station LTER & University Wisconsin-Madison GLBRCLiz Schultheis & Kara Haas3Corn is one of the best crops for producing biomass for fossil fuels, however it is an annual and needs very fertile soil. To grow corn, farmers add a lot of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to their fields. Other crops, like switchgrass, prairie, poplar trees, and Miscanthus grass are perennials and require fewer fertilizers and pesticides to grow. If perennials can produce high levels of biomass with low inputs, perhaps they could produce more biomass than corn under certain low nutrient conditions.
A difficult droughtKellogg Biological Station LTER & University Wisconsin-Madison GLBRCLiz Schultheis & Kara Haas2Biofuels are made from plants that are growing today, and are being considered as an alternative to fossil fuels. To become biofuels, plants need to go through a series of chemical and physical processes that transform the sugars into ethanol. Scientists are interested in seeing how yeast’s ability to transform sugar into fuel is affected by environmental conditions in fields, such as temperature and rainfall. They used data from a year with drought and a year with normal rainfall to determine if plants that grew under drought conditions were lower quality for ethanol production.
DSC_0060Fertilizing biofuels may cause release of greenhouse gassesKellogg Biological Station LTER & University Wisconsin-Madison GLBRCLiz Schultheis & Kara Haas3One way to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we release into the atmosphere could be to grow our fuel instead of drilling for it. Unlike fossil fuels that can only release CO2, biofuels remove CO2 from the atmosphere as they grow and photosynthesize, potentially balancing the CO2 released when they are burned for fuel. However, the plants we grow for biofuels don’t necessarily absorb all greenhouse gas that is released during the process of growing them on farms and converting them into fuels.
DSC_0060The ground has gas!Kellogg Biological Station LTER & University Wisconsin-Madison GLBRCLiz Schultheis & Kara Haas3Nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide are responsible for much of the warming of the global average temperature that is causing climate change. Sometimes soils give off, or emit, these greenhouse gases into the earth’s atmosphere, adding to climate change. Currently scientists figuring out what causes differences in how much of each type of greenhouse gas soils emit.
A monarch caterpillar on a milkweed leaf.Mowing for monarchs, Part IKellogg Biological Station LTERLiz Schultheis & Kara Haas2During the spring and summer months, monarch butterflies lay their eggs on milkweed plants. Milkweed plays an important role in the monarch butterfly’s life cycle. When milkweed is cut at certain times of the year new shoots grow, which are softer and easier for caterpillars to eat. Scientists set out to see if mowing milkweed plants could help boost struggling monarch populations.
Mowing for monarchs, Part IIKellogg Biological Station LTERLiz Schultheis & Kara Haas2When the scientists mowed down milkweed plants for their experiment, they changed more than the age of the milkweed plants. They also removed other plant species in the background community. Perhaps the patterns they were seeing were driven not by milkweed age, but by eliminating predators from the patches they mowed.
Blinking out?Kellogg Biological Station LTERLiz Schultheis & Kara Haas2Many people have fond memories of watching fireflies blink across open fields and collecting them in jars as children. This is one of the reasons why fireflies are a beloved insect species. However, there is concern that their populations are in decline. Scientists turned to the longest-running study of fireflies known to science to see if this is the case!
DSC_0060Invasion Meltdown: will climate change make invasions even worse?Kellogg Biological Station LTERLiz Schultheis & Kara Haas3Humans are changing the earth in many ways, including adding greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere, which contributes to climate change, and introducing species around the globe, which can lead to invasive species. Scientists wanted to know, could climate change actually help invasive species? Because invasive species have already survived transport from one habitat to another, they may be species that are better able to handle change, such as temperature changes.
DSC_0060Springing forwardKellogg Biological Station LTERLiz Schultheis & Kara Haas1 & 3What does climate change mean for flowering plants that rely on temperature cues to determine when it is time to flower? Scientists who study phenology, or the timing if life-history events in plants and animals, predict that with warming temperatures, plants will produce their flowers earlier and earlier each year.
DSC_0060Cheaters in nature – when is a mutualism not a mutualism?Kellogg Biological Station LTERLiz Schultheis & Kara Haas4Mutualisms are a special type of relationship in nature where two species work together and both benefit. This cooperation should lead to each partner species doing better when the other is around – without their mutualist partner, the species will have a harder time acquiring resources. But what happens when one partner cheats and takes more than it gives?
DSC_0060Fair traders or freeloaders?Kellogg Biological Station LTERLiz Schultheis & Kara Haas3One example of a mutualism is the relationship between a type of bacteria, rhizobia, and plants like peas, beans, soybeans, and clover. Rhizobia live in bumps on the plant roots, where they trade their nitrogen for sugar from the plants. Rhizobia turn nitrogen from the air into a form that plants can use. Under some conditions, this mutualism could break down, for example, if one of the traded resources is very abundant in the environment.
DSC_0060The mystery of Plum Island MarshPlum Island Ecosystems LTER & The TIDE ProjectDavid Moon3Salt marshes are among the most productive coastal ecosystems, and support a diversity of plants and animals. Algae and marsh plants feed many invertebrates, like snails and crabs, which are then eaten by larger fish and birds. In Plum Island, scientists have been fertilizing and studying salt marsh creeks to see how added nutrients affect the system. They noticed that fish populations seemed to be crashing in the fertilized creeks, while the mudflats were covered in mudsnails. Could there be a link?
DSC_0060Urbanization and estuary eutrophicationPlum Island Ecosystems LTERDavid Moon4Estuaries are very productive habitats found where freshwater rivers meet the ocean. They are important natural filters for water and protect the coast during storms. A high diversity of plants, fish, shellfish and birds call estuaries home. Estuaries are threatened by eutrophication, or the process by which an ecosystem becomes more productive when excess nutrients are added to the system. Parts of the Plum Island Estuary in MA may be more at risk from eutrophication due to their proximity to urban areas.
DSC_0060Does sea level rise harm saltmarsh sparrows?Plum Island Ecosystems LTERDavid Moon3For the last 100 years, sea levels around the globe have increased dramatically. Salt marshes grow right at sea level and are therefore very sensitive to sea level rise. Saltmarsh sparrows rely completely on salt marshes for feeding and nesting, and therefore their numbers are expected to decline as sea levels rise and they lose nesting sites. Will this threatened bird species decline over time as sea levels rise?
DSC_0060Keeping up with the sea levelPlum Island Ecosystems LTERDavid Moon3Salt marshes are very important habitats for many species and protect the coast from erosion. Unfortunately, rising sea levels due to climate change are threatening these important ecosystems. As sea levels rise, the elevation of the marsh soil must rise as well so the plants have ground high enough to keep them above sea level. Basically, it is like a race between the marsh floor and sea level to see who can stay on top!
DSC_0060Is your salt marsh in the zone?Plum Island Ecosystems LTERDavid Moon3Beginning in the 1980s, scientist James began measuring the growth of marsh grasses. He discovered that their growth was higher in some years and lower in others and that there was a long-term trend of growth going up over time. Marsh grasses grow around mean sea level, or the average elevation between high and low tides. Are the grasses responding to mean sea level changing year-to-year, and increasing as our oceans warm and water levels rise due to climate change?
Marsh makeoverPlum Island Ecosystems LTERDavid Moon3The muddy soils in salt marshes store a lot of carbon, compared to terrestrial dry soils. This is because they are low in oxygen needed for decomposition. For this reason they play a key role in the carbon cycle and climate change. If humans disturb marshes, reducing plant diversity and biomass, are they also disturbing the marsh's ability to sequester carbon? If a marsh is restored, can the carbon holding capacity also be brought back to previous levels?
DSC_0060Invasive reeds in the salt marshPlum Island Ecosystems LTERDavid Moon2Phragmites australis is an invasive reed that is taking over saltwater marshes of New England, outcompeting other plants that serve as food and homes for marsh animals. Once Phragmites has invaded, it is sometimes the only plant species left, called a monoculture. Phragmites does best where humans have disturbed a marsh, and scientists were curious why that might be. They thought that perhaps it was caused by changing salinity, or amount of salt in the water, after a marsh is disturbed.
DSC_0060Can a salt marsh recover after restoration?Plum Island Ecosystems LTERDavid Moon2Before restoration began, it was clear the Saratoga Creek salt marsh was in trouble. Invasive Phragmites plants covered large areas of the marsh, crowding out native plants and animals. Human activity was thought to be the culprit – storm drains were dumping freshwater into the marsh, lowering salinity. In 1999 a restoration took place to divert freshwater away from the marsh in an attempt to reduce Phragmites numbers. Did it work?
DSC_0060Make way for mummichogsPlum Island Ecosystems LTERDavid Moon4Mummichogs are small fish that live in tidal marshes all along the US Atlantic coast. Because they are so widespread and can be found in most streams, they are a valuable tool for scientists looking to compare the health of different marshes. The absence of mummichogs in a salt marsh is a sign that it is highly damaged. Students collected data on mummichog numbers before and after a marsh restoration. Did the restoration successfully bring back mummichogs to the marsh?
The case of the collapsing soilFlorida Coastal Everglades LTERNick Oehm4The Everglades are a unique and vital ecosystem threatened by rising sea levels due to climate change. Recently scientists have observed in some areas of the wetland the soils are collapsing. What is causing this strange phenomena? Sea level rise might be stressing microbes, causing carbon to be lost to the atmosphere through increased respiration.
The carbon stored in mangrove soilsFlorida Coastal Everglades LTERNick Oehm2Mangroves are globally important for many reasons. They form dense forested wetlands that protect the coast from erosion and provide critical habitat for many animals. Mangrove forests also help in the fight against climate change by storing carbon in their soils. The balance between how much carbon is added to the soils and how much is released might be dependent on a variety of factors, including tree size and amount of disturbance to the site.
Are forests helping in the fight against climate change?Harvard Forest LTERClarisse Hart & Katharine Hinkle3In the 1990s, scientists began to wonder what role forests were having in the exchange of carbon in and out of the atmosphere. Were forests overall storing carbon (carbon sink), or releasing it (carbon source)? To test this, they built large metal towers that stand taller than the forest trees around them and use sensors to measure the speed, direction, and CO2 concentration of each puff of air that passes by. These long term measurements can tell us whether forests help in the fight against climate change.
A window into a tree’s worldHarvard Forest LTERClarisse Hart & Katharine Hinkle2Scientists are very interested in learning how trees respond to rapidly warming temperatures. Luckily, trees offer us a window into their lives through their growth rings. Growth rings are found within the trunk, beneath the bark. These rings provide a long historical record, which can be used to study how trees respond to climate change.
Love that dirty waterHarvard Forest LTERClarisse Hart & Katharine Hinkle4As green spaces are lost to make room for homes and businesses, there are fewer forests and wetlands to filter our drinking water. A team of scientists used the New England Landscapes Future Explorer to study this challenge for the Merrimack River, an important river for the people of New England.
These are two different experimental plots within the large field experiment at Konza Prairie Biological Station. The one with lots of trees is an unburned plot, the one with lots of grass is a burned plot.Fertilizer and fire change microbes in prairie soilKonza Prairie LTERJill Haukos4Prairies grow where three environmental conditions come together – a variable climate, frequent fires, and large herbivores roaming the landscape. However, prairies are experiencing many changes. For example, people now work to prevent fires, which allows forest species take over. In addition, land previously covered in prairie is now being used for agriculture. How do these changes affect the plants, animals, and microbial communities that inhabit prairies?
A bison mom and her calf.Does more rain make healthy bison babies?Konza Prairie LTERJill Haukos2The North American Bison is an important species for the prairie ecosystem. Bison affect the health of the prairie in many ways, and are also affected by the prairie as well. Each year when calves are born, scientists go out and determine their health by weighing them. This long-term dataset can be used to figure out whether environmental conditions from the previous year affect the health of the calves born in the current year.
Trees and the cityMinneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Area LTERMeredith Keller3Trees provide important benefits, such as beauty and shade. The number and types of tree species that are planted in a neighborhood can increase the benefits received from trees in urban areas. Based on her own observations, Adrienne started conversations with her colleagues about differences in urban landscapes. They conducted a study to see how social demographics of neighborhoods may be related to tree species richness and tree cover.

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MEET THE SCIENTISTS!

Want to know more about the scientists behind each Data Nugget? Click on their name for a link to their professional websites, or on their Data Nugget to learn more about their research!

NameInstitutionAbout MeData Nuggets
Anurag AgrawalCornell UniversityI teach classes in ecology and field biology, and enjoy natural history, identifying plants, figuring out what makes some organisms toxic, and interacting with students. Most of my research is on the interactions on insects and plants in the local landscape – seeking to understand their ecology and evolution. Monarchs and milkweeds figure in prominently, but not exclusively. I also work with plant breeders to work on ways to improve pest management in crops with reduced pesticides. The ability to pursue a life in science is a gift from our society for which I will be eternally grateful. Find out more about me by visiting my scientist profile!How milkweed plants defend against monarch butterflies
Ruby AnPrinceton UniversityI am a plant community ecologist fascinated by the Arctic and passionate about understanding the resilience of ecosystems to global climate change. In my PhD at Princeton University, I study the expansion of tundra shrubs or “shrubification” of the Arctic. I spend the summer at Toolik Field Station on the North Slope of Alaska, where I run field experiments to simulate “future worlds” for tundra plants. In the winter, I am in New Jersey analyzing data and building mathematical models. Year-round, some of my main joys are eating pastries, growing basil from grocery-store stems, and playing dungeons & dragons on zoom with my sisters.Which tundra plants will win the climate change race?
Kristina J. Anderson-TeixeiraSmithsonian Conservation Biology InstituteI am a forest ecologist at the Smithsonian, where I lead the Ecosystems and Climate Program for the Forest Global Earth Observatory (ForestGEO). I am interested in how forests around the world interact with our changing climate - both how they respond and how they can help to slow the pace of climate change. For example, I am interested in how climate change is affecting tree growth and mortality, what makes trees resistant or vulnerable to drought, how climate affects forest recovery after big disturbances, and how the amount of carbon stored in forests varies around the world.Breathing in, Part 1 & Breathing in, Part 2
Ivan ArismendiOregon State UniversityI am from the southern cone of South America where empanadas, lamb, and temperate rainforests formed my early years. I am a quantitative aquatic ecologist interested in the links among water, land, and people. I focus on freshwater-terrestrial links, freshwater-marine links, invasive species impacts on aquatic and riparian ecosystems, and the consequences of climate change on freshwater food webs and ecosystems. I am also interested in issues related to diversity and inclusion in science.All washed up? The effect of floods on cutthroat trout
Christie BahlaiKent State University, Michigan State UniversityI am an applied quantitative ecologist and population ecologist who uses approaches from data science to help solve problems in conservation, sustainability, and ecosystem management. I combine a background in physics and organismal ecology with influences from the tech sector and conservation NGOs to ask questions and build tools addressing problems in population ecology.Blinking out?
Megan BallardUniversity of Texas - AustinI am interested in using measurements of sound waves to learn more about underwater environments. By studying the propagation of sound waves through the ocean, we can characterize the water masses of the ocean’s interior, the sediments that make up the seafloor, and the waves or ice cover on the ocean’s surface. By listening to naturally occurring sounds, we can determine wind speed and rainfall, identify species of vocalizing fish and marine mammals, and estimate photosynthetic bubble production from submerged aquatic vegetation.The sound of seagrass
mbanvilleMélanie BanvilleArizona State UniversityEver since I was young I had a keen interest for wildlife. This led me to pursue a B.S. in Zoology at McGill University, Montreal, Canada. Shortly after I graduated I left Canada to travel and work in the United States. I have been working as a professional wildlife biologist on a wide variety of wildlife-related projects for over a decade, eight of which were in the desert southwest. I truly believe that a better understanding of urban ecology is of fundamental importance for the future of all living organisms as our urban boundaries expand and put more pressure on our ecological resources.Lizards, iguanas, and snakes! Oh my!
barbasch_photoTina BarbaschBoston UniversityI first became interested in science catching frogs and snakes in my backyard in Ithaca, NY. This inspired me to major in biology at Cornell University, located in my hometown. As an undergraduate, I studied male competition and sperm allocation in the local spotted salamander. After graduating, I joined the Peace Corps and spent 2 years in Morocco teaching environmental education and 6 months in Liberia teaching high school chemistry. As a PhD student, I study how parents negotiate over parental care in my study system, the clownfish. Find out more about me by visiting my scientist profile!Raising Nemo: Parental care in the clown anemonefish
Carina BaskettMichigan State UniversityI became interested in biology when I was in high school, so I joined Science Olympiad. I went to college at Rice University in Houston, Texas, my hometown. I did some research on pollination in college, and decided that I really enjoyed learning about the relationships between plants and insects. Before starting my PhD, I did a year-long Watson Fellowship, an independent study abroad. I traveled to different ecosystems in Ecuador, Chile, Panama, and Spain, and made a podcast about relationships between people and nature. For my PhD, I studied pollination and herbivory and how they change with latitude—lots of travel again!Where to find the hungry, hungry herbivores & Are plants more toxic in the tropics?
hbatemanHeather BatemanArizona State UniversityI am a field ecologist and conservation biologist interested in how human land-use affects vertebrate populations and habitats. As Earth’s ecosystems move into a future of growing human influence, restoring the integrity of these ecosystems will become central to the conservation of biodiversity. Human activities tend to perturb ecosystems by suppressing natural disturbances such as flooding or fire. This can lead to a decline in native species and proliferation of non-native species. My research interests lie in exploring population responses to habitat alteration, with a particular interest in amphibians, reptiles, and birds.Lizards, iguanas, and snakes! Oh my!
Matthew G. BettsOregon State UniversityI study the ways that landscape composition and pattern influence animal behavior, species distributions and ecosystem function. As humans are one of the primary drivers of landscape characteristics globally, much of my work is applied and focused on management and conservation. However, understanding mechanisms is key to generalization, so a central part of my research program is basic in nature and links landscape ecology to behavioral ecology, physiology, and molecular ecology.Trees and bushes, home sweet home for warblers
Andrew BlinnIdaho State UniversityAndrew is currently working on a research project studying carbon dynamics and ecosystem function in urban streams. Stream ecology played a large role in developing his passion for ecological sciences and he hopes to foster the passion of future scientists through education. He has also spent two years as an interpretive park ranger and naturalist for Maryland and Delaware State Parks where he developed stream monitoring programs in parks that help inform natural resource managers and introduce the public to exciting research methods in ecology. Surviving the flood
4821680Harriet BoothNortheastern UniversityI am interested in how species interactions drive community structure and dynamics in coastal ecosystems as well as how these interactions are altered by human influence. My graduate research will focus on predator-prey dynamics in a subtidal oyster reef system in Apalachicola Bay, Florida. I am examining the combined effects of intraspecific trait diversity and density of stone crabs on oyster survival and growth over time. The mystery of Plum Island Marsh
Jennifer BowenMarine Science Center, Northeastern UniversityMy work runs the gamut from modeling how changing land use on watersheds alters the geochemistry of receiving waters to understanding how climate change and nutrient enrichment alters the structure and function of microbial communities. In particular I have been focusing on both how human activities are altering the structure and function of microbial communities and in turn how microbial communities can help ameliorate pollution from human sources.Marsh makeover
Carrie BranchUniversity of Nevada RenoI have been interested in animal behavior and behavioral ecology since my second year in college at the University of Tennessee. I research how variation in ecology and environment affect communication and signaling in birds. I have also studied various types of memory and am interested in how animals learn and use information depending on how their environment varies over space and time. Once I finish my PhD I hope to become a professor at a university so that I can continue to conduct research and teach students about animal behavior. In my spare time I love hiking with my friends and dogs, and watching comedies!Finding Mr. Right
Adriana BriscoeUniversity of California, IrvineLike many scientists, I believe that communicating science to the public is becoming increasingly urgent. As a consequence, I have become very interested in how science communicated in K-12 lessons, short dispatches, blogs, podcasts and videos can be used as a tool for inviting the public to participate in science as students, citizen scientists or as consumers of scientific knowledge. My research is focused on understanding what happens to gene products underlying physiological and behavioral traits following gene duplication and functional diversification. Find out more about me by visiting my scientist profile!Why are butterfly wings colorful?
robert-buchsbaum-headshot_mediumRobert BuchsbaumMass AudubonI enjoy sharing my knowledge and passion for the natural world as a trip leader and lecturer for Mass Audubon and other environmental groups. My particular interests include marine and coastal habitats, wildflowers, birds, climate change, and alpine ecology. I am a Mass Audubon’s Regional Scientist in the Southeast, Cape, and Islands Region and have been a staff scientist here since 1987. Make way for mummichogs & Does sea level rise harm saltmarsh sparrows?
20140702-JLH-Kristi-Bugajski-003Kristi BugajskiValparaiso UniversityI specialize in the area of forensic entomology. Forensic entomology looks at how insects are used in a court of law. My specialty is medico-legal forensic entomology, or how maggots can be used to estimate the amount of time that has passed since death. I am interested in oviposition timing and factors that influence oviposition.CSI: Crime Solving Insects
Ashley CarrollGull Lake Middle SchoolI teach 7th-grade science at Gull Lake Middle School in Richland, MI. In the summer of 2018 I worked in Jeff Conner’s lab and participated in a Research Experience for Teachers (RET). My research experience took place at one of Michigan State University's off-campus sites, Kellogg Biological Station (KBS). During my time at KBS I collaborated with scientists and college students to study a variety of radish plant adaptations.Fast weeds in farmer’s fields
Jeff ConnerMichigan State UniversityI study the mechanisms by which natural selection on plants produces (sometimes very rapid) adaptation to a variable environment, as well as possible constraints on this adaptation. Members of my lab measure the strength of selection acting in present-day populations and combine this with quantitative and molecular genetic and genomic analyses to predict short-term evolutionary change and identify the genetic mechanisms underlying adaptation and constraint. Major projects focus on floral evolution and weed adaptations to agricultural habitats.Fast weeds in farmer’s fields
Susan Cook-PattonThe Nature ConservancyI am a Senior Forest Restoration Scientist at The Nature Conservancy. I work to quantify the climate mitigation potential of reforestation and other natural climate solutions and infuse the best-available science into land management decisions.Breathing in, Part 1 & Breathing in, Part 2
Dave CostelloKent State UniversityI am an ecosystem ecologist and I spend most of my time studying how human actions impact rivers and streams. Recently, my work has focused on excess nutrients, metal pollution, and the combination of those two “stressors”. I use experiments in the field and lab to discover how human stressors change the abundance, composition, and function of organisms living in streams. I am fascinated by the
resilience of stream organisms to the stresses of human disturbance.
Surviving the flood
Aaron CurryBaltimore Ecosystem Study LTER site & Wise High SchoolI am an Environmental Science Teacher at Wise High School in Maryland. As a Research Experience for Teachers (RET) Fellow with the Baltimore Ecosystem Study, I studied the effects of pharmaceuticals and personal care products on riparian spider food webs. To do this research, I worked with a team of undergraduate students from UMBC to sample spiders and we also analyzed pictures of spider webs to determine the irregularity of the web shapes. I am a huge science nerd and I really enjoy being outdoors studying science. Find out more about me by visiting my scientist profile! Spiders under the influence
Robert CoxUniversity of VirginiaI am an evolutionary ecologist and my interests span from comparative endocrinology and physiology to behavioral ecology and evolutionary genetics. My current projects focus on integrating quantitative genetics, endocrinology, and genomics to study intralocus sexual conflict and life-history tradeoffs.Is it better to be bigger? & Is it dangerous to be a showoff?
Smiley-150x150Hans DamUniversity of Connecticut-Avery PointI am a biological oceanographer. My research interests are in the biology, ecology and evolution of planktonic organisms, particularly pelagic copepods. Earlier in my career I investigated questions dealing with the role of planktonic organisms in biogeochemical cycles in the ocean, and the formation and fate of marine aggregates. Recently, my interests have broadened to deal with questions of the evolutionary ecology of plankton. Dangerous aquatic prey: can predators adapt to toxic algae?
Emily DangremondRoosevelt UniversityI am an ecologist with interests in conservation, climate change, and patterns of abundance. My research has been on rare plants in California, Panama and Illinois and on the geographic range expansion of mangroves in Florida. I teach courses in ecology, introductory biology, botany and global change biology. One of my main goals is to spend time outside, and studying the natural world lets me do that.Mangroves on the move
603798_10152751058695133_1302343582_nSarah Davies University of Texas at Austin & Boston UniversityChanging climates and ongoing anthropogenic habitat modifications threaten natural ecosystems worldwide. Research in my lab studies the potential roles of acclimation, adaptation, and dispersal in an organism’s response to rapid climate change. Understanding how symbioses are maintained is fundamental as climate change disrupts symbiotic relationships worldwide. The coral–Symbiodinium symbiosis is essential and serves as the cornerstone for the entire reef ecosystem. Won’t you be my urchin?
deserClara DeserNational Center for Atmospheric ResearchI study global climate variability and climate change using observations and models, with an emphasis on interactions among the atmosphere, ocean, and sea ice. My recent projects include the role of internal variability in regional climate change, the effects of projected Arctic sea ice loss on global climate, asymmetries between El Nino and La Nina, and Pacific decadal variability.The Arctic is Melting – So What?
1449132Leila DesotelleMichigan State UniversityMy research explores how food web subsidies can influence communities. I study the Kalamazoo River, which has several dams. Dams change the flow of the water and can increase the production of phytoplankton. The phytoplankton can act as a subsidy both temporally and spatially. Stream insect communities change along the river, and some of this response is to the subsidy from dams. Rivers frequently have multiple dams though many are aging and will be removed in the coming decades. Therefore, understanding how dams change food sources is important for the management of rivers.Float down the Kalamazoo River
Colin DonihueHarvard University & Washington UniversityI am an evolutionary ecologist studying the drivers and consequences in intra-specific variation in animal functional traits. In particular, my research focuses on predicting changes in behavioral, morphological, and performance traits as a result of changes in ecological context. My field research in Southern Europe, the West Indies, East Africa, and North America makes use of direct manipulative studies and landscape-scale natural experiments. My work generates fundamental insights into eco-evolutionary dynamics and critical applied lessons for conservation in human-dominated landscapes.Hold on for your life! Part 1 & Part 2
LizDuffLiz DuffMass Audubon, Salt Marsh Science ProjectI coordinate environmental education in the Great Marsh Region and beyond, primarily in salt marshes and other coastal ecosystems. I provide professional development workshops and courses for teachers. Currently, I am conducting long term ecological research with middle and high school students, investigating invasive Phragmites. I engage students in stewardship projects, and am passionate about my work teaching about climate change, working to raise awareness about rising sea levels, and to inspire actions and plan for the future.Make way for mummichogs & Invasive reeds in the salt marsh & Can a salt marsh recover after restoration?
Ken DuntonUniversity of Texas Marine Science Institute & Beaufort Lagoon Ecosystems LTERI am a biological oceanographer whose research is focused on estuarine, coastal, and shelf processes. Although my work spans from the Arctic to the Antarctic, my continuous studies of the arctic coastal ecosystem have spanned three decades. My research also includes measurements that can help identify processes that are sentinel indicators of global change.Benthic buddies & Seagrass survival in a super salty lagoon
Carleigh EngstromBiotechnology High School & Monmouth UniversityI teach Molecular and Agricultural Biotechnology to tenth graders in New Jersey. I hope to instill my love for biology with all of my students, and one way I do that is by staying current. During the summer of 2018, I participated in a Research Experience for Teachers (RET) program at Monmouth University's Phifer-Rixey lab. This research experience allowed me to get involved with a striped bass project, where we determined the stock populations for striped bass that were sampled off the NJ coast. I truly enjoy sharing this experience with my students, as a way to show them all that science has to offer. Fishy origins
everettMeredith EverettUniversity of Washington & NOAAMy research explores how organisms interact with and adapt to their environments on a genomic scale, and how knowledge of these interactions can be applied to conservation and management solutions. During my time in the Seeb Lab I worked on SNP discovery, developing novel genomic maps for Pacific salmonids, and using these maps to discover the genomic regions associated with ecological traits through QTL and association mapping. I was also involved in a project using SNPs to track sockeye salmon in Bristol Bay, Alaska. I currently work at NOAA on the phylogenetics of deep-water corals.Salmon in hot water
Ilka (Candy) FellerSmithsonian Environmental Research CenterI am a mangrove ecologist. I was the Principal Investigator in the Animal-Plant Interaction Laboratory at the Smithsonian Environment Research Center from 1999 until 2018, when I retired and transitioned to an emeritus appointment at the Smithsonian Institution. My research is focused on the biology of animal-plant interactions in mangrove ecosystems. I maintain a lab at SERC and plan to continue to work on mangroves for the foreseeable future. Mangroves on the move
mf_profileMichael Finiguerra University of Connecticut-Avery PointMy PhD dissertation investigated the evolution of tolerance to toxins. Today I am a professor at the University of Connecticut, Teaching is my passion. I love interacting with students and coaching them through complex problems. To me, science is more than intellectual content. It is a lens through which to teach critical thinking. Helping my students become independent critical thinkers is my goal. I use my research as a tool for teaching; it connects the real-world to classroom lectures and gives student much needed hands-on experience, in both laboratory and field-settings. Dangerous aquatic prey: can predators adapt to toxic algae?
Susan FinkbeinerUniversity of California, Irvine & Boston UniversityI spent my childhood chasing butterflies and collecting insects in Illinois, with the dream of studying butterflies in the tropical rainforest. As an undergrad at Cornell I did a semester abroad in Costa Rica where I was introduced to Heliconius butterflies. For my PhD I worked with these butterflies to examine how natural and sexual selection drive the evolution of butterfly wing patterns. I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at Boston University (Mullen Lab) working with Adelpha butterflies to understand the ecological and evolutionary processes that shape patterns of biodiversity.Why are butterfly wings colorful?
Erika FosterColorado State UniversityI strive to answer complex questions about soil productivity and to inspire the next generation of soil ecologists. I aim to work with diverse communities from farmers to students, to discover best land management practices, and to ignite curiosity and passion for science. Broadly, I hope to continue serving as an interpreter in my field of soil ecology, delving into the mechanisms that build healthy soils. I want to dig deep into the science, and connect my work to management practices for climate-smart agriculture.Can biochar improve crop yields?
Daniel FraserUniversity of Texas Marine Science Institute & Beaufort Lagoon Ecosystems LTERAs a member of the Beaufort Lagoon Ecosystem - Long Term Ecological Research (BLE - LTER) program, I am studying the spatial and temporal variation in community composition and structure of benthic macrofaunal communities of Alaskan Arctic Lagoons.Benthic buddies
Sarah FreyOregon State UniversityMy research is in quantitative population ecology, with a focus on understanding how environmental patterns at different scales affect biodiversity in both temperate and tropical forest systems. Specifically, I study how land-use and climate changes in montane forest landscapes influence species distributions, abundance trends, and community composition. I apply novel analytical tools to address my research questions. Trees and bushes, home sweet home for warblers
Becky FullerUniversity of IllinoisI grew up in a small town riding horses in 4-H and working in a veterinary clinic. I’ve always been interested in biology, but two key experiences lead me to my career. I took courses at Cedar Point Biological Field Station. There I met Dr. Tony Joern who hired me onto his field crew to study grasshopper community ecology. I caught the “science bug” and never looked back. After undergrad I worked with Dr. Anders Berglund on pipefish on the west coast of Sweden. There I developed my love for fish and aquatics. I feel very fortunate to have a job where I can do science and teach young, enthusiastic students.Why so blue? The determinants of color pattern in killifish Part 1 & Part 2
Iniyan GanesanIniyan GanesanMichigan State UniversityI am interested in the pore size of the chloroplast TOC and TIC protein translocons as well as the degree of folding present in proteins as they pass through chloroplast outer and inner membranes. My area of specialization is Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, and Genomics.Cheaters in nature – when is a mutualism not a mutualism?
Ali GephartBayfield High SchoolI graduated from Bayfield High School in 2012. After graduation, I attended UW-La Crosse for 2 years and then transferred to UW Madison where I graduated in 2016 with a degree in Communication Arts - Film/Radio/TV. I spent 5 years in Los Angeles trying my best to avoid the sun before moving back to the Midwest. I now live in Chicago and work as a Studio Mechanic (Local 476) on TV shows such as Chicago Med, The Chi and Force. I much prefer the climate here in Chicago, Southern California is simply too hot. Not to mention I couldn’t stand living so far away from one of the Great Lakes.Lake Superior rhythms
Gena GephartBayfield High SchoolAfter graduating from Bayfield High School, Gena attended UW-Madison where she got her degree in Communication Arts and Gender & Women’s Studies. After college Gena moved to Chicago to pursue standup comedy which people think is an art but is actually a science. Lake Superior rhythms
2013-02-25 18.11.57Eben GeringMichigan State UniversityOne of the most exciting things I learned as a college student was that natural populations sometimes evolve very quickly. Biologists used to think evolution was too slow to be studied “in action”, so their research focused on evolutionary changes that occurred over thousands (or even millions) of years. I study feral animal populations to learn how rapid evolutionary changes help them survive and reproduce, without direct help from us.Feral chickens fly the coop
Anne-GiblinAnne GiblinMarine Biological Laboratory & Plum Island Ecosystems LTERMy major research interest has been on the cycling of elements in the environment, especially the biogeochemistry of nitrogen, sulfur, iron, and phosphorus. Much of my work has been focused in soils and sediments where element cycling takes place under different conditions of oxidation and reduction. Much of my current research focuses on the nitrogen cycle and has been centered on understanding how ecosystems respond to high nutrient inputs from wastewater and fertilizer.Keeping up with the sea level
Cara GiordanoUniversity of VirginiaMy research in sexual selection focuses on the dewlap, a secondary sexual trait in the brown anole lizard. I investigate if variation in the characteristics of this ornament relates to the fitness of the individual expressing it. I am interested in how ecological relationships change over time, particularly under pressures of environmental transition, as well as the physiological mechanisms that underlie conservation concerns.Is it dangerous to be a showoff?
Laura GoughTowson UniversityWhen I was young, I was always happiest when I was outside. I loved to walk in the woods and observe insects, birds, and mammals and think about how they could live with the plants I encountered there. I trained to be a plant ecologist and am still interested in how plants interact with other organisms in the same habitat. I have been studying the arctic tundra for many years and love thinking about how arctic organisms survive and thrive and how they are responding as climate change progresses and the Arctic warms.Which tundra plants will win the climate change race?
kgKristine GraysonUniversity of Richmond, Victoria University of WellingtonI am an Associate Professor in the Biology Department and an HHMI BioInteractive Ambassador and facilitator with the Quantitative Undergraduate Biology Education and Synthesis (QUBES) project. I run an undergraduate research lab studying invasive insects, salamanders, and aquatic macroinvertebrates. My work on tuatara was conducted during a postdoc at Victoria University of Wellington funded by an NSF International Research Fellowship. One of my claims to fame is capturing the state record holding snapping turtle for North Carolina – 52 pounds! To read more about my interest in science from a young age, check out this article.When a species can’t stand the heat
Skye GreenlerColorado College & Purdue UniversityAs a child I was always asking why; questioning the behavior, characteristics, and interactions of plants and animals around me. This love of discovery, observation, questioning, and experimentation led me to pursue a career in science. As a graduate student at Purdue I study the factors influencing oak regeneration after ecologically based timber harvest and prescribed fire. While my primary focus is ecological research, I love getting to leave the lab and bring science into classrooms to inspire the next generation of young scientists and encourage all students to be always asking why!Is chocolate for the birds?
Stanley GregoryOregon State UniversityI am a professor emeritus. My research focuses on the analysis of processes and patterns that shape aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems at landscape scales. I am particularly interested in the influence of human activities on ecosystem structure and function. My work evaluates patterns of historical change as a basis for developing restoration strategies and design future human development.All washed up? The effect of floods on cutthroat trout
Natasha HagemeyerOld Dominion UniversityI got an early start with bird research, and banded my first bird at 12 years old. Since then, I've worked with a variety of species and questions, looking at song sharing in orchard orioles, foraging behavior in black-backed woodpeckers, window strikes in migratory passerines, and social behavior in acorn woodpeckers. My true love, however, is movement ecology, and my PhD research focuses on the pre-dispersal movement patterns of the cooperatively breeding acorn woodpeckers, using a novel automated telemetry system with solar-powered radio tags.Deadly windows
dr-fowleriTravis HageyMichigan State University, BEACONEver since I was a kid, I've been interested in animals and wanted to be a paleontologist. I even had a bunch of dinosaur names memorized to back it up! In college I discovered evolutionary biology, which drove me to apply for graduate school and become a scientist. There, I fell in love with comparative biomechanics, which combines evolutionary biology and mechanical engineering. Today I study geckos and their sticky toes, which allow them to scale surfaces like glass windows and tree branches.Sticky situations: big and small animals with sticky feet
hammondMark HammondMichigan State UniversityI am the research technician for the Lau lab and the resident natural history, lab, and greenhouse guru! I manage all projects in the lab, and am a resource for grad students and mentor for summer researchers. Research in the lab focuses on community ecology and evolutionary ecology. We study how plant populations respond to human-cased environmental change, the ecology and evolution of species interactions, and natural selection in the wild.Invasion meltdown & Springing forward
Chris HawnUniversity of Maryland, Baltimore CountyThe most vulnerable populations in society overlap with critical concerns in human-modified systems. I explore the relationships between human activity and ecological systems through conservation ecology, citizen science, and environmental justice. Spiders under the influence
adam_under_hoodAdam HeckColorado State UniversityI am a graduate of the University of Sioux Falls with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Chemistry and Entrepreneurial Studies. Currently, I am continuing my education as a PhD graduate student at Colorado State University in Cell/Molecular Biology en route to a career in biomedical research.Gene expression in stem cells
Jennifer HellmannThe Ohio State University & University of IllinoisIt is becoming clear that past and current environmental influences can cause even genetically identical individuals to behave in very different ways. I use field and laboratory experiments, molecular tools, and modeling to understand behavioral differences among individuals and the mechanisms that permit individuals to plastically adjust their behavior given social and environmental pressures (e.g. predation risk). To do this, I study a variety of marine and freshwater fishes.Clique wars: social conflict in daffodil cichlids
richard.t.holmesRichard HolmesHubbard Brook Experimental Forest & Dartmouth CollegeI am a Research Professor of Biology at Dartmouth College, where I am also a Harris Professor of Environmental Biology Emeritus. I live in Grantham, NH.The birds of Hubbard Brook, Part 1 & Part 2
Jared HomolaMichigan State UniversityI am a conservation geneticist focusing on questions that influence natural resource management. I grew up in Michigan, attended Michigan State University to earn a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife before going on to graduate school at Grand Valley State University and the University of Maine. I then worked as a postdoctoral scholar back in the Dept. of Fisheries and Wildlife at MSU. Currently, I am the Director of the Molecular Conservation Genetics Lab at University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point where my lab does research to addresses information needs of fisheries managers using genomic, bioinformatic, and statistical tools.Round goby, skinny goby
chopkinsonCharles HopkinsonUniversity of Georgia & Marine Biological LaboratoryI have been studying estuaries since graduate school and in collaboration with colleagues from around the world, but especially here at Georgia and in Louisiana and Massachusetts (MBL). Estuaries are the most productive natural ecosystems of the world because they receive nutrient and water subsidies from every land use upstream and because of tidal pumping. It’s their location relative to land inputs however that also makes them vulnerable to N-enrichment and eutrophication.Urbanization and estuary eutrophication
Forrest HowkBayfield High School, OneEnergy RenewablesI grew up in Bayfield, Wisconsin. In high school, I partnered with various local organizations and my science teacher to complete an independent project looking at long-term boat traffic data as a proxy for changing ice seasons in the Bayfield Harbor of Lake Superior. After high school I went on to study conservation biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and received a Master’s degree in public policy from the University of Washington-Seattle. I am now an associate in project development at OneEnergy Renewables, a company that helps with solar projects around the United States.The end of winter as we’ve known it?
Jerry HusackUniversity of St. Thomas (Minnesota)I grew up in southeast Texas, went to college in west Texas, and did his graduate work at Oklahoma State University. My work combines physiology, behavior, and life-history theory in an evolutionary framework to understand how form and function evolve. I am interested in how and why organisms allocate limited resources to different aspects of their form and function, as well as what trade-offs occur with those ‘decisions’.Size matters - and so does how you carry it
Alexandria IgweUniversity of California-DavisI am a microbial ecologist and study how microbial communities impact plant phenotypes. There were two reasons I became a biologist: interest and money. First, I enjoyed science. I grew up participating in science fairs and most of my topics dealt with nature: surveying insects, growing plants, growing crystals, etc. I was set to become a medical doctor when I was introduced to research as a career which led to my second reason I became a biologist: money. I was excited to pursue a career where I could, essentially, get paid to learn and explore topics of interest. Find out more about me by visiting my scientist profile!Getting to the roots of serpentine soils
Jake JungersUniversity of MinnesotaThe objective of my research group is to improve the profitability and sustainability of cropping systems. Our highly-collaborative team relies on the principles of plant ecology, field experiments, and statistical modeling to achieve these goals. Key components of our strategy include 1) improving the management of perennial crops in crop rotations, and 2) enhancing crop diversity at local, watershed, and regional scales.Collaborative cropping: Can plants help each other grow?
Adrienne KellerUniversity of MinnesotaI am an ecologist and climate change scientist. I do research and work with land managers to use scientific knowledge when deciding how to manage ecosystems in a changing climate. I collect data in the field, do analyses in the lab, and conduct experiments in the greenhouse. I also synthesize data other researchers have collected to look for general patterns across studies. A lot of my research focuses on understanding what’s going on under our feet, exploring the many important roles of soils. I am passionate about making science accessible to people from all walks of life and applying good science to equitable land management policies.Trees and the city
Carly KenkelUniversity of Texas at Austin & University of Southern CaliforniaEnvironmental variation is ubiquitous in natural systems. I am interested in understanding the mechanisms marine organisms use to cope with environmental variation at multiple scales, from changes in the relationship between intracellular symbionts and their host environment, to the mechanisms enabling local populations to persist in different habitats. I also have a strong interest in “translational ecology”: turning scientific findings into tools for conservation management.Coral bleaching and climate change
Hankyu KimOregon State UniversityI study how bird population response to climate change and land-cover change, focused on conservation of migratory and common bird species. I am interested in how dynamic changes in human use of land and climate change interact with bird population dynamics throughout their annual migratory life cycle. I have worked in various ecosystems, from temperate coniferous rainforests in the Pacific Northwest to temperate deciduous forests in South Korea and marine ecosystems in western Antarctica. I think leaving records of biodiversity is very important for biodiversity conservation and understanding its impact on human life.Trees and bushes, home sweet home for warblers
kinsmanLauren Kinsman-CostelloKent State University & Michigan State UniversityI am an ecosystem ecologist interested in the effects of hydrology on aquatic nutrient biogeochemistry and ecosystem function. My research aims to inform larger questions about the resilience of ecosystems faced with environmental change and the ability of humans to manage, restore, and create ecosystems. A recurring theme in my research is the role that sediments play in freshwater ecosystem function (mud matters!). As a grad student I was part of the original team of scientists who helped develop Data Nuggets!Marvelous mud
IMG_3984Melissa KjelvikMichigan State University & Data NuggetsI am a postdoctoral researcher and co-founder of Data Nuggets. I completed my PhD in Zoology and EEBB at the Kellogg Biological Station as a member of Gary Mittelbach’s Lab. For my research I work with juvenile bluegill sunfish. I am interested in how fitness tradeoffs may lead to the maintenance of individual-level biodiversity, particularly in the behaviors of fish. Dangerously bold
John KominoskiFlorida International University, MiamiI opt to be outside. I am an ecosystem ecologist whose research integrates spatial and temporal scales of biogeochemical cycling and organic matter processing. My research focuses on the interface (ecotone) between ecosystems where community transitions and exchanges of materials occur. I use theory to test fundamental questions in ecology, enabling me to study diverse ecosystems ranging from the mountains to the sea. I am passionate about field-based research and teaching, and I maintain long-term research in the southern Appalachian Mountains, Gulf Coast of Texas, and the Florida Everglades.The case of the collapsing soil
Bob KuhnCentennial High SchoolI have been an educator for 22 years, mostly at Centennial High School in Roswell, Georgia where I have taught freshman biology and AP biology for 19 years. I am a proud graduate of the University of Georgia (BS/MS) with degrees in paleontology. In addition to teaching biology, I mentor students in independent research.Hold on for your life! Part 1 & Part 2
Matt KustraUniversity of VirginiaI am a senior at the University of Virginia majoring in Biology and Computer Science. My research interests are in post-copulatory sexual selection as well as how social environment affects animal physiology and behavior. I am currently working on my distinguished major’s thesis in the Cox lab, looking at how spatial distributions of lizards change throughout the year. After graduation, I plan on pursuing a PhD in evolutionary biology. Is it better to be bigger?
alyciaAlycia LackeyMichigan State University & Murray State UniversityMy research lies at the intersection of evolution, ecology, and behavior. I am interested in how populations evolve in response to the environment, especially in cases of environmental change. I study what generates, maintains, and erodes diversity within and between populations. For my PhD I explored the evolution of reproductive isolation between species of stickleback fish. I studied how divergent sexual and natural selection maintained distinct species and how environmental change facilitated hybridization between one species pair. I am enthusiastic about teaching, mentoring, and outreach.Which guy should she choose? & Fish fights
Doug A. LandisMichigan State UniversityI am an entomologist and have been a professor at MSU since 1988. My research focuses on how agricultural landscapes influence plant-insect interactions. Together with my students, I study insect ecology and management, particularly in regard to biological control of insects and weeds. I hope to use these insights to help design sustainable landscapes that promote the benefits we get from insects, such as pollination and pest suppression for crops. I am also interested in invasive species ecology and management, and more recently in the conservation and restoration of rare species and communities.Mowing for monarchs, Part 1 & Mowing for monarchs, Part 2
Ashley LangIndiana UniversityI am interested in the ways that microbial communities influence the response of ecosystem carbon dynamics to climate change and shifts in plant species composition. My previous work has been focused on New England forest ecosystems. When I'm not in the lab, you can find me hiking, making art, and hanging out with my family.Going underground to investigate carbon locked in soils
larsonWesley LarsonUniversity of WashingtonMy graduate research is focused on the use of genotyping by sequencing to acquire data from Chinook salmon populations in western Alaska; these data will provide conservation options and new insights into local adaptation. I am also interested processes influencing variation in the genes of the major histocompatibility complex.Salmon in hot water
Jen LauMichigan State University & Indiana UniversityI am an evolutionary ecologist interested in understanding the full range of ways that plant populations respond to changing environmental conditions. Much of my work focuses on how rapid environmental changes (e.g., biological invasions, rising CO2 concentrations, and global climate change) impact population dynamics, species interactions, and the evolution of plant populations.Invasion meltdown & Springing forward
Kevin LeeUniversity of Texas - AustinMy research uses sound to study the underwater environment, including ocean boundaries, aquatic life, and objects in the ocean. Many of my interests focus on the seabed: marine sediments, seagrass and aquatic vegetation, infauna (worms and other invertebrate animals that live in the seabed sediment), and carbon burial. I also study the acoustic effects of gas bubbles in the sediment and in the water, as well as how sound interacts and bounces off underwater objects (both natural and human-made). Another application of my research is finding ways to reduce human-made underwater noise pollution. The sound of seagrass
Laura LillyScripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San DiegoMy research focuses on zooplankton responses to El Niño events in the California Current. I completed a joint B.S. and M.S. degrees at Stanford University in Earth Systems, with an oceanography focus. In conjunction with those degrees, I researched tuna physiology. Prior to graduate school, I completed a California Sea Grant Fellowship with the West Coast Governors' Alliance and Ocean Observing Systems to connect oceanographic data to policymakers. In my non-research time, I love to surf, ride horses, run, travel to Baja California, write poetry, and promote low-waste lifestyles.Crunchy or squishy? How El Niño events change zooplankton
michaelmartinMichael MartinUniversity of Maryland, Baltimore County & University of ArizonaI started my college career as an engineer, but after taking a zoology class I was hooked on biology. I was amazed by the millions of different types of animals that have lived, and currently live, on Earth. I needed to know how so many different types of animals evolved, and so I decided to study the process of speciation. I am currently working in a group of stream fish, called darters, to try and learn how differences in mating behavior might lead to new animal species. This work has led me to a more general interest in animal behavior that I now study in fruit flies as well.Are you my species?
erinErin McCulloughUniversity of Western AustraliaI am fascinated by morphological diversity, and my research aims to understand the selective pressures that drive (and constrain) the evolution of animal form. Competition for mates is a particularly strong evolutionary force, and I study how sexual selection has contributed to the elaborate and diverse morphologies found throughout the animal kingdom. Using horned beetles as a model system, I am interested in how male-male competition has driven the evolution of diverse weapon morphologies, and how sexual selection has shaped the evolution of physical performance capabilities.Beetle battles
Remington MollMichigan State UniversityI am currently a graduate student. My research uses cutting-edge technologies such as GPS collars and camera-traps to study predator-prey interactions between large carnivores and their prey. I am excited about evaluating how ecological theory developed in "natural" areas like national parks applies to urban contexts. I grew up in the city and fell in love with nature and ecology in city parks. Although it comes with challenges, I believe that humans and large predators can peaceably coexist, even in and around cities. It is my goal to use the lessons learned from my research to help make that belief a reality.City parks: wildlife islands in a sea of cement
MorrisJimWebJames MorrisUniversity of South CarolinaMy research spans the basic and applied aspects of the physiological ecology of plants adapted to wetland habitats and the biogeochemistry and systems ecology of wetlands, primarily salt and freshwater intertidal wetlands. We take an approach that combines field work, analytical chemistry, and numerical modeling.Is your salt marsh in the zone?
Bill MungerHarvard UniversityThe Harvard Forest Environmental Measurement Station began measurements in the fall of 1989. The objectives at this site are to make long-term measurements of net carbon exchange, canopy-atmosphere exchange of selected trace gases, and regional atmospheric chemistry. My emphasis has been on the regional atmospheric chemistry and nitrogen deposition, and long-term trends in carbon storage.Are forests helping in the fight against climate change?
novak-bioAlyssa NovakCenter for Coastal Studies, Boston UniversityI am a coastal ecologist who uses a combination of theoretical and empirical approaches to understand how coastal ecosystems experience and respond to stressors. The ultimate goal of my research is to provide information that facilitates initiatives to enhance ecosystem resilience. I have worked extensively in seagrass systems. Recently, I expanded my work to salt marsh systems and am investigating marsh-edge subsidence and its relationship to the invasive European green crab.Green Crabs: Invaders in the Great Marsh
828_Ali Mugshot 250pixAlison O’DonnellUniversity of Western AustraliaI have a broad research interest in biogeography and landscape ecology in relation to climate variability and fire regimes. I am particularly interested in utilising dendrochronology (tree ring) techniques to understand past climates and fire regimes of arid and semi-arid regions in Western Australia. I also have an ongoing interest in improving understanding of the interactions between climate and fire and vegetation, topography and ecosystem processes.What do trees know about rain?
Erik OlsonNorthland CollegeI currently study a wide-variety of topics focused on predator ecology and conservation. Some of my recent projects include: wolf management and ecology in the Great Lakes region, island biogeography theory in the Apostle Islands wildlife community, grey fox climbing behavior, monitoring of jaguars and other wildlife in two National Parks of Costa Rica, factors influencing nest site selection and reproductive success in American kestrels, and the habitat value of old-growth white pine canopies.Candid camera: Capturing the secret lives of carnivores
Raisa Hernández PachecoUniversity of RichmondI am interested in understanding the drivers shaping population dynamics. In 2013, I obtained my PhD from the University of Puerto Rico after assessing the effects of mass bleaching on Caribbean coral populations. Right after, I joined the Caribbean Primate Research Center and the Max-Planck Odense Center to study the long-term dynamics of the Cayo Santiago rhesus macaque population. At the Grayson lab, I am studying the population of red-backed salamanders in Richmond; its density, spatial arrangement, and space use. Find out more about me by visiting my scientist profile!What big teeth you have! Sexual selection in rhesus macaques
Logan PallinOregon State University & Palmer Station LTERPopulations of humpback whales in the Southern Hemisphere are recovering after intense commercial whaling during the last century. Along the Western Antarctic Peninsula (WAP) this recovery is occurring in an environment that is experiencing the fastest warming of any region on the planet. For my master’s research, I will employ a suite of genetic, biochemical, and photographic techniques to assess the demography of humpback whales along the WAP and how these demographics change with the onset of climate change. Specifically, I will measure changes in sex ratios and quantify pregnancy rates.When whale I sea you again?
Jessie K PearlUniversity of ArizonaI am a postdoc with the U.S. Geological Survey in Seattle, WA studying the recurrence and impacts of large mega-thrust earthquakes along the Cascadian subduction zone. I use dendrochronology, dendroecology, geochronology, and sedimentology to describe and analyze past landscapes, extreme events, and climate. I am interested in regional climate dynamics, and how knowledge of the past can inform our understanding of current global change and future hazards.A window into a tree’s world
Neil PedersonHarvard UniversityI am an ecologist at the Harvard Forest studying climate-forest dynamics and disturbance ecology. I was born and raised in Volney, NY. Throughout my career I have been a forester, professor, and research professor. My research focuses on the ecology of climate change of temperate, mesic forests including the eastern US, Spain, east Asia, and the Colchic Temperate Rainforest in Turkey and the Republic of Georgia.A window into a tree’s world
Damián A. Concepción PérezWilder Middle SchoolI am a middle and high school Science and Math teacher. I have always been searching for innovative ways to get my students engaged in the science classroom and to connect their new knowledge with the real-world. In thinking of ways to help my students learn, I engaged my self with the scientific community collaborating in scientific projects and creating hands-on, interactive, and inspiring teaching lessons. It is my main interest to develop ideas that could positively contribute to any student’s STEM education.What big teeth you have! Sexual selection in rhesus macaques
Julia PerroneKent State University, Michigan State UniversityI grew up in Michigan and have a love for all things nature, which led me to pursue a BS in Environmental Biology/Zoology at MSU. After graduating, I worked as the lab manager for an entomology lab researching insects and landscape ecology. I am passionate about connecting people with science and nature. I got my Master of Library and Information Science at Kent State University. I specialized in youth engagement with the goal of building science literacy in my community through effective and engaging programming and collaborations with community organizations. Find out more about me by visiting my scientist profile!Blinking out?

Kaylie PlumbUniversity of Texas Marine Science Institute & Beaufort Lagoon Ecosystems LTERI am a marine scientist specializing in biological oceanography with experience in the lab, on the open ocean, and in the estuary. My research interests include studying the interactions between the physiology of marine photosynthesizers and their environment, developing strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change on coastal ecosystems, and the intersections between science and policy.Benthic buddies
Shannon RankinNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Southwest Fisheries Science CenterI am a wildlife research biologist at NOAA Fisheries' Southwest Fisheries Science Center, where we use sound as a tool to study marine mammals. Sound travels exceptionally well in the ocean, and marine mammals have evolved to use sound for communication, foraging, navigation, and finding mates. Their reliance on sound as their primary means of interacting with the world means that we can learn a lot about these species just by listening! Eavesdropping on the ocean
Desray ReebU.S. Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy ManagementDr. Desray Reeb is a Marine Biologist with BOEM. As a subject matter expert for the last decade at BOEM, Desray was tasked with assessing the impacts of offshore renewable energy on marine mammals and sea turtles. In her new position as the Science/Studies Coordinator for the Office of Renewable Energy Programs (OREP), Desray expands on these efforts by overseeing and supporting research directed at improving our ability to accurately assess the potential impacts of offshore renewable energy on the environment. Desray has been working in the marine mammal field on different species in various parts of the world for over 25 years, with a particular interest in right whales.Eavesdropping on the ocean
Robert ReedCornell University My research focuses on the question of where butterfly color patterns come from - how they originated and how they change over time. My work examines this question using multiple approaches, ranging from developmental genetics to behavioral ecology. I became interested in butterflies as an undergraduate at U.C. Berkeley. I later earned a PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology at University of Arizona, where I characterized several genes involved in wing patterning and pigmentation. I am currently an Associate Professor at Cornell University where my lab works on many different types of butterflies, including Heliconius.Why are butterfly wings colorful?
Aaron ReedyUniversity of VirginiaI lead field research in Florida, where I'm conducting my PhD research on the quantitative genetics and genomics of intralocus sexual conflict in brown anoles. Before grad school, I taught biology at Thomas Kelly High School in Chicago, where I pioneered the new model of teacher-scientist collaboration and classroom experimentation that is the centerpiece of our Evolution Education program.Is it better to be bigger? & Is it dangerous to be a showoff?
Evelyn ReillyUniversity of MinnesotaI grew up in the city of Minneapolis and became interested in agriculture when I was in high school. I was surprised to learn that it has a huge impact on soil, water, and air quality, as well as wildlife habitat and biodiversity. I wanted to do something to help protect the environment, so I do research on nitrate under different crops. One project involved working with cities and organizations in rural Minnesota to plant Kernza above drinking water that had high levels of nitrate. I saw how farmers, city officials, water managers, and scientists were all working together to find solutions to the problem.Nitrate: Good for plants, bad for drinking water
1368734335Gal RibakTel-Aviv University, IsraelMy field of research covers comparative biomechanics and ecophysiology of locomotion in animals. I study the biomechanical, physiological and evolutionary mechanisms that shape the diversity of animal abilities to move (e.g. fly, swim jump) through their natural environment. The flight of the stalk-eyed fly
Clare RittschofUniversity of KentuckyI am broadly interested in the evolutionary consequences and mechanistic underpinnings of behavioral plasticity, particularly in the context of social interactions. I have addressed this topic to-date with studies of alternative reproductive strategies and tactics in the spider Nephila clavipes, and more recently in the context of socially-induced variation in aggression in the honey bee. My research combines perspectives from behavioral ecology, behavioral genomics, and neuroscience.To bee or not to bee aggressive
Nick RobertsonNorthland CollegeMy research group focuses on using synthetic chemistry to reduce the environmental impact of society. We work to develop new biorenewable and/or biodegradable materials as well as developing methods for reducing the quantity of waste materials heading to landfills. All of the lab work for these projects is performed by Northland students. I have two young daughters who keep me on my toes and constantly entertained. When I am not spending time with my family, I love silent sports—cross country skiing, biking (road, mountain, cyclocross and snowbiking) and paddling.Working to reduce the plastics problem
9CB91B30-155D-E635-18608A03FB74AFF6_mediumAshlee RoweUniversity of OklahomaI am interested in sensory and motor systems and their role in the evolution of adaptive behavior, particularly traits that mediate interactions between animals. My ultimate goal is to understand how animals adapt to their environment. My research program is integrative and focuses on understanding the biochemical, molecular, genetic and physiological bases of adaptive behavior. To address these questions, I study traits that are at the interface of species interactions.A tail of two scorpions
Ashlee & Matt Rowe 2Matt RoweUniversity of OklahomaMy research in behavioral ecology uses integrative approaches to study coevolution between predators and prey. These dynamic interactions show remarkable sophistication, from ground squirrels using rattling they provoke in rattlesnakes to assess the body size and temperature of their reptilian enemies, to grasshopper mice capable of feeding on highly neurotoxic scorpions because of subtle modifications in the mouse’s peripheral nerves. My conservation biology research examines habitat selection and habitat requirements in vertebrates.A tail of two scorpions
leileiLTERLeilei RuanMichigan State University & University of California, BerkeleyI study the effects of nitrogen fertilizers on greenhouse gas emissions, a project that will help to maximize crop productivity while reducing emissions. In another research project, I examine biofuel crops. Most people think that if we use biofuel crops, what we burn doesn’t increase or decrease carbon in the atmosphere, and my research studies that question.Fertilizing biofuels may cause release of greenhouse gasses
gsanfordGregg SanfordGLBRC, University of Wisconsin-MadisonI am responsible for the management of a 40 acre intensive biofuel cropping systems trial located at the UW agricultural research station in Arlington, WI. I was involved in the design and implementation of 3 new bioenergy cropping systems trials in WI. I conduct independent research related to the sustainable production of dedicated bioenergy crops with an emphasis on soil quality metrics such as carbon pools and dynamics.Growing energy: comparing biofuel crop biomass
Karina Scavo LordBoston UniversityI am a marine ecology PhD candidate interested in the population demographics and genomics of reef corals living in marginal, non-reef environments, such as mangroves and seagrass meadows. As coral reefs decline worldwide, scientists are looking beyond the reef to coral communities growing in these non-reef environments, which may serve as climate refugia or as reservoirs of resilient or hardy coral individuals. To better understand if these habitats are important to reef recovery, I use empirical, theoretical, and molecular approaches.Corals in a strange place
schemske_dougDoug SchemskeMichigan State UniversityThe goal of my research is to characterize the mechanisms of adaptation. This requires information on both the ecological significance of putative adaptive traits as well as an understanding of their genetic basis. Such comprehensive studies are extremely difficult to accomplish; thus it is perhaps not surprising that our current knowledge of adaptation is inadequate. A central theme of my work is the link between temporal and spatial variation in ecological conditions and the adaptive differentiation of populations and species. I rely on ecological and genetic approaches to investigate the origin and maintenance of biological diversity. Winter is coming! Can you handle the freeze?
Elizabeth SchultheisMichigan State University, KBS LTER, & Data NuggetsI am the Education & Outreach Coordinator for the KBS LTER and co-founder of Data Nuggets. For my PhD I studied invasive plants in Michigan and whether release from enemies, like herbivores and disease, could drive their success over native plants. My work on Data Nuggets includes science education research, curriculum development, and running workshops for teachers and scientists. My current research explores the effects of Data Nuggets on the students who use them, and the scientists who create them.Do insects prefer local or foreign foods? & Do invasive species escape their enemies? & Springing forward
screenJames ScreenUniversity of ExeterMy research examines climate varaibility and change in the polar regions, and the effects these changes on the global climate system. My research utilises a combination of observational analyses and numerical modeling to elucidate the physical drivers of climate variability on seasonal and longer timescales, and the two-way interactions between polar and lower-latitude regions. Currently, my research focusses on exploring how the inexorable retreat of Arctic sea ice effects extreme weather in Europe and the U.S.The Arctic is Melting – So What?
Jim-Seeb1-528x528Jim SeebUniversity of WashingtonMy research focuses on identifying genetic differences that distinguish one Pacific salmon population from another. My current work uses genetic markers to track the migration of adult salmon in the North Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea. My wife, Lisa Seeb, and I run the program which provides an important intersection between the Alaska Salmon Program and the SAFS Molecular Ecology Research Laboratory to conduct both basic and applied research. We want to better understand the genetic mechanisms underlying how salmon respond to environmental change.Salmon in hot water
Shelby ServaisFlorida International University, MiamiMy current research is focused on how soil microbes are affected by environmental stresses and subsidies. I work in the Everglades ecosystem where carbon-rich soils are threatened by climate change and land management practices. Microbial communities influence biochemical cycles, and microbial function is controlled by environmental conditions. Specifically, I am testing how soil microbial function is affected by changes in salinity, inundation, and phosphorus. I am also passionate about science communication and outreach. I actively communicate my research to the public, stakeholders, students, and educators.The case of the collapsing soil
msuresearchjpg-8020ab42df67cf3cIurii ShcherbakMichigan State UniversityI am a crop modeling scientist, experienced in programming and statistics. I have a strong interest in developing improved crop models with emphasis on limiting complexity while representing features sufficient for model to be widely applicable. I also want to understand ways to enhance efficiency of farm management and achieve sustainable crop production.The ground has gas!
Arial ShogrenMichigan State University & The University of AlabamaI am a stream ecologist - and I like to say that I literally fell in love with river research. As part of a high school outdoor education course, I fell into the St. Croix River in Northern Wisconsin! While I briefly floated downstream, I realized that I wanted to know more about how rivers work, sparking my early interest in aquatic ecology and hydrology. My research focuses on how rivers move and transform material as they cross the landscape. I work primarily in the Arctic. I am interested in how physical and biological variables interact to drive the signals we see in river water. Find out more about me by visiting my scientist profile!Streams as sensors & Limit by limit
scientistsPaula StollerValparaiso UniversityI am a hardworking and dedicated person who is personable and enjoys interacting with others. I am also a public speaker. My biggest academic goal is to graduate from Valparaiso University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology and Environmental Science. I would like to go onto graduate school and pursue a Master's in Entomology. I am very passionate about the environment as well.CSI: Crime Solving Insects
Nora StraquadineMichigan State UniversityI am currently an undergraduate getting my B.S. in Zoology with a concentration in Zoo and Aquarium as well as a minor in Marine Ecosystem Management. Although aquatic life is my main interest, I think it’s important to appreciate other animal groups and take a break to play and explore the nature around you. That curiosity was how I was able to volunteer in labs on campus from entomology to genetics, and how I came to spend a summer at the Kellogg Biological Station in Michigan. Which would a woodlouse prefer?
Lantao_SunLantao SunUniversity of Colorado at Boulder & National Center for Atmospheric ResearchI am currently a research scientist at Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado at Boulder and NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL).The arctic is melting – so what?
img_0287Tomomi SuwaMichigan State University & Chicago Field MuseumI am broadly interested in population, community, and evolutionary ecology in agricultural and natural systems. I work on topics including plant-insect interactions, biological invasions, and plant-microbe symbiosis. I completed my PhD in Plant Biology and EEBB at the Kellogg Biological Station as a member of Jen Lau’s Lab. My dissertation research examined the role of resource mutualisms in plant adaptation to abiotic environments. Find out more about me by visiting my scientist profile!Does a partner in crime make it easier to invade?
John SwallowUniversity of Colorado, DenverMy research focuses on how morphology, physiology, and behavior evolve together as an integrated phenotype. I use stalk-eyed flies as a model system to investigate how evolution, driven by sexual selection (e.g. ornamentation that serves as secondary sexual signals), conflicts with locomotor performance and, ultimately, fitness. Sexual selection provides a selective engine with the ability to drive large changes in suites of behavioral, physiological and morphological characters with the potential for rapid speciation. Research in my lab includes ecological, organismal, biomechanical and behavioral approaches. How to escape a predator & The flight of the stalk-eyed fly & How do brain chemicals influence who wins a fight? & Ant wars! & David & Goliath & Size matters
Jeff TaylorKonza Prairie LTERI am a field biologist at the Konza Prairie LTER. My roles include monitoring plant community composition across the site and managing the bison herd. I am interested in how grazing shapes plant communities, as well as the ways that plant communities affect grazers. This fascinating interaction becomes even more interesting when combined with the effects of fire and climatic variability. My work provides unique insights into tallgrass prairie ecology, but not only that, it’s also fun! Does more rain make healthy bison babies?
Casey terHorstCalifornia State University, NorthridgeI am an evolutionary ecologist, studying how rapid evolution alters interactions between competitors, mutualists, and predator and prey. My lab is also interested in how evolution occurs in communities, where any species lives with many other types of species in a complicated web of interactions. When I'm not in the lab, I spend too much time consuming pop culture and playing pub-trivia with friends.Testing the tolerance of invasive plants
robinRobin TinghitellaUniversity of DenverWork in our lab centers on the roles of ecology and behavior in rapid evolutionary change. We work with real organisms in their real habitats, and also use laboratory experimentation and genomic tools to understand the forces that shape diversity in animal communication and their consequences for divergence and speciation. Recently, we’ve been thinking a lot about the consequences of anthropogenic change for sexual selection. Find out more about me by visiting my scientist profile!How the cricket lost its song Part 1 & Part 2 & Purring crickets: The evolution of a new cricket song
Biz TurnellCornell University & Technische Universität DresdenI study how sexual selection drives evolution, and the interplay between pre- and postcopulatory sexual selection. For my PhD I studied a Hawaiian cricket, measuring the different stages of sexual selection in the field and developing a mathematical model of strategic sperm allocation. As a postdoc I investigated how sperm metabolism changes in female sperm storage organs, and whether these changes can explain the differences in sperm use patterns we see in different species of Drosophila fruit flies. Currently I’m working as a scientific editor. Find out more about me by visiting my scientist profile!Bon Appétit! & Stop that oxidation!
Tony VorsterColorado State UniversityI am a PhD candidate in the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology. My research addresses natural resource management questions related to managing beetle-killed forests, forest carbon and invasive species. I have taught at both the elementary and undergraduate level and continue to enjoy taking science to K-12 classrooms.Tree-killing beetles
Marjorie WeberMichigan State UniversityI am an evolutionary ecologist, interested in how ecological interactions impact phenotypic evolution and diversification across evolutionary scales. My research focuses on interactions between plants and arthropods, and evaluates hypotheses that link plant-arthropod interactions with macroevolutionary patterns. I work in many systems, including ant-plant and ant-mite mutualisms, plant defense, and plant-pollination interactions. I also have a passion for promoting social justice and equity in STEM, and work to understand and implement change through education. Find out more about me by visiting my scientist profile!Buried seeds, buried treasure
243328Martha WeissGeorgetown UniversityMy research focuses on the role of behavior, by both plants and insects, in mediating interactions among the two groups of organisms. The sensory and behavioral attributes of insects, including vision, taste, smell, and touch, as well as a capacity to learn and remember, ultimately shape the insects' ability to interact with and exert selection on plants and on other insects. Similarly, the active behavior of plants allows them to take advantage of insects' sensory and behavioral capabilities. Shooting the poop
me-at-Grand-TetonDanielle WhittakerMichigan State University, BEACONMy current work focuses on avian chemical communication, addressing the following questions: what information is present in a bird's odor, what can birds detect, and what are their preferences when it comes to choosing a mate? Sexy smells
Caroline WilliamsUniversity of California, BerkeleyAn organism’s task is to get nutrients from the environment, and divide those nutrients among competing demands in the way that best enhances the passing on of its genes. This task is complicated by the fact that environments vary in concentrations of nutrients, and in abiotic factors that impact the acquisition and processing of those nutrients. My research combines field-based natural history and experiments with laboratory-based biochemistry and physiology. Research in my lab focuses on linking detailed biochemical and physiological measurements to life history and fitness consequences.Beetle, it’s cold outside!
img_0117Amy WorthingtonCreighton University & Washington State UniversityI strive to help my students attain a broader scientific literacy that will serve them long after their formal education is complete. Specifically, I want my students to learn how science works, why it is an ever-changing field, what the scientific method is and how to use it, how to critically evaluate science in the news, and how to effectively communicate science to both peers and laypeople. I particularly enjoy engaging with the general public about science and I frequently seek out unique opportunities to interact with people of all ages. How to escape a predator
Jay ZarnetskeMichigan State UniversityI am a hydrologist, which means I spend my days observing, quantifying, and advancing our understanding of how water interacts with human and ecological processes. In other words, I ask “How does the physics of water regulate ecosystems?” I have the opportunity to develop measurements, models, and methods that are relevant to a wide range of stakeholders dealing with climate change, sustainability, hydrology, biogeochemistry, aquatic ecology, and landscape ecology issues. This work has taken me from my roots in the Adirondack region of New York, to school, research, and jobs around the world.Streams as sensors: Arctic watersheds as indicators of change
Jazmine YaegerUniversity of South DakotaMy interests surround the neurophysiology of stress-related responses and aggressive behaviors. While my early work focused on aggression in invertebrates, including mantis shrimp, I currently use rodent models to explore the development and progression of stress-induced affective disorders, like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Specifically, I consider how stress reshapes neural circuitry and if pharmacological intervention can reverse these changes. My research may help uncover novel treatments for mood and anxiety-related disorders.Ant wars!
Lydia H. ZeglinKansas State UniversityI worked and played outdoors a lot growing up, and always wondered about how all the pieces of nature fit together. Eventually in college I figured out that ecological research could be a job, and that the microorganisms were the most interesting and invisibly intriguing players that regulated nutrient cycling in every ecosystem. Now I lead a microbial ecology research laboratory, where my students and I learn about ecosystems together. We focus primarily on soil and stream-dwelling microbes and how they influence soil and water quality, and consequently the rest of the ecosystem. Fertilizer and fire change microbes in prairie soil

The birds of Hubbard Brook, Part II

In Part I, you examined patterns of total bird abundance at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest. These data showed bird numbers at Hubbard Brook have declined since 1969. Is this true for every species of bird? You will now examine data for four species of birds to see if each of these species follows the same trend.

Red-eyed vireo in the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest

Red-eyed vireo in the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest

The activities are as follows:

It is very hard to study migratory birds because they are at Hubbard Brook only during their breeding season (summer in the Northern Hemisphere). They spend the rest of their time in the southeastern United States, the Caribbean or South America or migrating between their two homes. Therefore, it can be difficult to tease out the many variables affecting bird populations over their entire range. To start, scientists decided to focus on what they could study—the habitat types at Hubbard Brook and how they might affect bird populations.

Hubbard Brook Forest was heavily logged and disturbed in the early 1900s. Trees were cut down to make wood products, like paper and housing materials. Logging ended in 1915, and various plants began to grow back. The area went through what is called secondary succession, which refers to the naturally occurring changes in forest structure that happen as a forest recovers after it was cut down or otherwise disturbed. Today, the forest has grown back. Scientists know that as the forest grew older, its structure changed: Trees grew taller, the types of trees changed, and there was less shrubby understory. The forest now contains a mixture of deciduous trees that lose their leaves in the winter (about 80–90%; mostly beech, maples, and birches) and evergreen trees, mostly conifers, that stay green all year (about 10–20%; mostly hemlock, spruce, and fir).

Richard and his fellow scientists already knew a lot about the birds that live in the forest. For example, some bird species prefer habitats found in younger forests, while others prefer habitats found in older forests. They decided to look carefully into the habitat preferences of four important species of birds—Least Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo, Black-throated Green Warbler, and American Redstart—and compare them to habitats available at each stage of succession. They wondered if habitat preference of a bird species is associated with any change in the bird populations at Hubbard Brook since the beginning of succession.

  • Least Flycatcher: The Least Flycatcher prefers to live in semi-open, mid-successional forests. The term mid-successional refers to forests that are still growing back after a disturbance. These forests usually consist of trees that are all about the same age and have a thick canopy at the top with few gaps, a relatively open area under the canopy, and a denser shrub layer close to the ground.
  • Black-throated Green Warbler: The Black-throated Green Warbler occupies a wide variety of habitats. It seems to prefer areas where deciduous and coniferous forests meet and can be found in both forest types. It avoids disturbed areas and forests that are just beginning succession. This species prefers both mid-successional and mature forests.
  • Red-eyed Vireo: The Red-eyed Vireo breeds in deciduous forests as well as forests that are mixed with deciduous and coniferous trees. They are abundant deep in the center of a forest. They avoid areas where trees have been cut or blown down and do not live near the edge. After an area is logged, it often takes a very long time for this species to return.
  • American Redstart: The American Redstart generally prefers moist, deciduous, forests with many shrubs. Like the Least Flycatcher, this species prefers mid-successional forests.

birds

Featured scientist: Richard Holmes from the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest. Data Nugget written by: Sarah Turtle and Jackie Wilson.

Flesch–Kincaid Reading Grade Level = 10.6

A view of the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest

A view of the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest

Additional teacher resource related to this Data Nugget:

There are multiple publications related to the data included in this activity:

  • Holmes, R. T. 2011. Birds in northern hardwoods ecosystems: Long-term research on population and community processes in the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest. Forest Ecology and Management doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2010.06.021.
  • Holmes, R.T., 2007. Understanding population change in migratory songbirds: long-term and experimental studies of Neotropical migrants in breeding and wintering areas. Ibis 149 (Suppl. 2), 2-13.
  • Townsend, A. K., et al. (2016). The interacting effects of food, spring temperature, and global climate cycles on population dynamics of a migratory songbird. Global Change Biology 2: 544-555.

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The birds of Hubbard Brook, Part I

Male Black-throated Blue Warbler feeding nestlings. Nests of this species are built typically less than one meter above ground in a shrub such as hobblebush. Photo by N. Rodenhouse.

Male Black-throated Blue Warbler feeding nestlings. Nests of this species are built typically less than one meter above ground in a shrub such as hobblebush. Photo by N. Rodenhouse.

The activities are as follows:

The Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest is an area where scientists have collected ecological data for many years. It is located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Data collected in this forest helps uncover environmental trends over long periods of time, such as changes in air temperature, precipitation, forest growth, and animal populations. It is important to collect data on ecosystems over time because these patterns could be missed with shorter observation periods or short-term experiments.

Richard Holmes is an avian ecologist who began this study because he was interested in how bird populations were responding to long-term environmental change.

Richard Holmes is an avian ecologist who began this study because he was interested in how bird populations were responding to long-term environmental change.

Each spring, Hubbard Brook comes alive with the arrival of migratory birds. Many come from the tropics to take advantage of abundant insects and the long summer days of northern areas. In the spring, avian ecologists, or scientists who study the ecology of birds, also become active in the forest at Hubbard Brook. They have been keeping records on the birds that live in the experimental forest for over 50 years. These data are important because they represent one of the longest bird studies ever conducted!

Richard is an avian ecologist who began this study early in his career as a scientist. He was interested in how bird populations respond to long-term environmental changes at Hubbard Brook. Every summer since 1969, Richard takes his team of trained scientists, students, and technicians into the field to identify which species are present. Richard’s team monitors populations of over 30 different bird species. They count the number of birds that are in the forest each year and study their activities during the breeding season. The researchers wake up every morning before the sun rises and travel to the far reaches of the forest. They listen for, look for, identify, and count all the birds they find. The team has been trained to be able to identify the birds by sight, but also by their calls. Team members are even able to identify how far away a bird is by hearing its call!

The study area is located away from any roads or other disturbed areas. To measure the abundance, or number of birds found in the 10 hectare study area, the researchers used what is called the spot-mapping method. They use plastic flags on trees 50 meters apart throughout the study area to create a 50×50 meter grid. The grid allows them to map where birds are found in this area, and when possible, where they locate their nests. Using the grid the researchers systematically walk through the plot several days each week from early May until July, recording the presence and activities of every bird they find. They also note the locations of nearby birds singing at the same time. These records are combined on a map to figure out a bird’s territory, or activity center. At the end of the breeding season they count up the number of territories to get an estimate of the number of birds on the study area. This information, when paired with observations on the presence and activities of mates, locations of nests, and other evidence of breeding activity provide an accurate estimate for bird abundance. Finally, some species under close study, like American Redstart and Black-throated Blue Warbler, were captured and given unique combinations of colored bands, which makes it easier to track individuals.

By looking at bird abundance data across many years, Richard and his colleagues can identify trends that reveal how avian populations change over time.

Featured scientist: Richard Holmes from the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest. Data Nugget written by: Sarah Turtle and Jackie Wilson.

Flesch–Kincaid Reading Grade Level = 11.3

A view of the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest

A view of the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest

Additional teacher resource related to this Data Nugget:

There are multiple publications related to the data included in this activity:

  • Holmes, R. T. 2011. Birds in northern hardwoods ecosystems: Long-term research on population and community processes in the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest. Forest Ecology and Management doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2010.06.021.
  • Holmes, R.T., 2007. Understanding population change in migratory songbirds: long-term and experimental studies of Neotropical migrants in breeding and wintering areas. Ibis 149 (Suppl. 2), 2-13.
  • Townsend, A. K., et al. (2016). The interacting effects of food, spring temperature, and global climate cycles on population dynamics of a migratory songbird. Global Change Biology 2: 544-555.

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BY MATH & SCIENCE CONCEPTS

Below, you will find a table of all the current Data Nuggets available. Click on the Title to open a page displaying the Data Nugget, teacher guide, student activities, grading rubric, and associated resources. The table can be sorted using the arrows located next to each column header. It can also be searched by keyword using the search bar, located to the top right of the table.

If you are looking for additional data to use with your students, search “full dataset available” to find Data Nuggets where the scientists have provided the full datasets behind the research in the activity. Email datanuggetsK16@gmail.com to get a copy of these data!

To help introduce these science and math concepts to your students, check out this set of resources.

TitleContent LevelScience Concepts / KeywordsQuantitative Concepts / StatisticsGraph Type(s)Variable Type(s)Data Type(s)
Dangerously bold1animals, animal behavior, tradeoff, fish, predation, biological significancepercent, standard error (SE), predictionsbarcategoricalsummarized, Digital Data Nugget
Coral bleaching and climate change1climate change, coral reef, marine, mutualism, temperature, animals, algae, adaptation, evolutionratiobarcategoricalsummarized
Won’t you be my urchin?1coral reef, herbivory, marine, sea urchin, water, animals, competition, food webmean, models, standard error (SE), standard deviation (SD)barcategoricalraw
Springing forward1 & 3climate change, phenology, plants, temperaturemean, standard error (SE), Julian datebarcategoricalsummarized, full dataset available, Digital Data Nugget
Do insects prefer local or foreign foods?2herbivory, invasive species, plants, insects, enemy release, ecologymean, variance, standard deviation (SD), standard error (SE), confidence intervals (CI), predictionsbarcategoricalsummarized, full dataset available, Digital Data Nugget
Spiders under the influence2animals, invertebrates, habitat, chemical pollution, aquatic, streams, scientist profilemean, multiple variablesmultiple barcategoricalfull dataset, students summarize
Do invasive species escape their enemies?2herbivory, invasive species, plants, insects, enemy release, ecologymean, percentbarcategoricalsummarized
Lake Superior Rhythms2amplitude, aquatic, atmosphere, environmental, physics, student research, wave period, wavescycle, sine wave, amplitude, change over timesine wavecontinuoussummarized, full dataset available
All washed up? The effect of floods on cutthroat trout2animals, disturbance, ecology, fish, water, stream, floods, alternative hypotheses, limnologyregression, ratio, rate, graph choice, unnecessary variables, long-term datascattercontinuousraw, Digital Data Nugget
Float down the Kalamazoo River2Kalamazoo River, water, suspended solids, dam, reservoir, limnologymean, ratio, rate, standard deviation (SD), standard error (SE), Julian date, unnecessary variablesbar, linecategorical, continuoussummarized, Digital Data Nugget
Finding a foothold2animals, ecology, marine, substrate, waterfrequency, proportionbarcategoricalsummarized
Is chocolate for the birds?2experimental design, agriculture, animals, birds, biodiversity, rainforest, succession, disturbance, transect, habitataddition, unnecessary variablesbarcategoricalraw, full dataset available
Fish fights2animal behavior, animals, fish, matingmean, proportion, regressionscattercontinuoussummarized, Digital Data Nugget
Marvelous mud2ecology, environmental, fertilization, mud, phosphorus, substrate, water, wetland, limnologypercent, regression, graph choicescattercontinuoussummarized
Which guy should she choose?2animal behavior, animals, fish, matingfrequency, regression, correlation vs. causationscattercontinuousraw, summarized
Sexy smells2adaptation, animal behavior, animals, birds, matingpercent, regression, correlation vs. causationscattercontinuousraw, Digital Data Nugget
Shooting the poop2adaptation, animal behavior, animals, insects, predation, alternative hypothesesmean, standard error (SE)barcategoricalraw
Invasive reeds in the salt marsh2disturbance, invasive species, plants, wetland, limnology, transectmean, percentbarcategoricalraw, summarized
A tail of two scorpions2animal behavior, animals, predationaddition, proportion, ratio, graph choicebar, stacked bar, pie chartcategoricalraw, Digital Data Nugget
Green crabs: invaders in the Great Marsh2animals, invasive species, substrate, wetland, erosion, limnologyaddition, range, mapmapcategorical, spatialraw, summarized
The birds of Hubbard Brook, Part I2animals, biodiversity, birds, climate change, succession, disturbance, ecologycount, long-term dataline, scattercontinuousraw, full dataset available, Digital Data Nugget
Beetle battles2adaptation, animals, behavior, competition, evolution, insects, matingstandard error (SE)barcategoricalsummarized
How do brain chemicals influence who wins a fight?2animals, behavior, competition, insects, aggression, brain chemistry, physiologymeanbarcategoricalraw, summarized
Deadly windows2animals, animal behavior, birds, environmental, urban, alternative hypothesesaddition, proportionbarcategoricalsummarized
Which would a woodlouse prefer?2experimental design, animals, behavior, ecology, predationcount, Chi-square test, replication, sample sizebarcategoricalraw, Digital Data Nugget
Tree-killing beetles2animals, biodiversity, disturbance, ecology, environmental, insects, plantsmean, percent, proportion, regressionscattercontinuoussummarized
Alien life on Mars – caught in crystals?2astrobiology, salt, solution, Mars, extraterrestrial life, chemistry, physical sciencemean, time series linecontinuoussummarized, visual, full dataset available
Beetle, it’s cold outside!2animals, climate change, ectotherm, insects, temperaturemean, standard error (SE), modelslinecontinuoussummarized
Can a salt marsh recover after restoration?2disturbance, salinity, transect, invasive species, plants, wetland, restoration, limnologymean, percent, frequencybar, linecontinuoussummarized
Fast weeds in farmer’s fields2evolution, adaptation, agriculture, plants, fitness, heredity, geneticsfrequency, percent, mean, replication, sample size, unnecessary variablesbar, scattercontinuous, categoricalsummarized
The carbon stored in mangrove soils2carbon, climate change, disturbance, ecology, environmental, nutrients, greenhouse gasses, plants, transectproportion, mean, unnecessary variablesbarcontinuous, categoricalsummarized
Where to find the hungry, hungry herbivores2herbivory, plants, insects, ecology, latitude, longituderegression, standard deviation (SD), standard error (SE)scattercontinuoussummarized
A window into a tree’s world2climate change, dendrochronology, ecology, plants, temperaturemean, relative growth, graph choice, regression, correlation vs. causation, trend line, line, scattercontinuous, categoricalsummarized
Corals in a strange place2adaptation, coral reef, mangrove, morphology, structure and functionvisual data, countbar, stacked bar, pie chartcontinuoussummarized, full dataset available
Mangroves on the move2climate change, disturbance, ecology, environmental, fertilization, nitrogen, nutrients, phosphorus, plantsmean, standard error (SE)barcategorical, continuoussummarized
Getting to the roots of serpentine soil2soil, plasticity, limiting factors, plants, ecology, scientist profilemean, range, standard deviationbarcontinuous, categoricalsummarized
Blinking out?2agriculture, insects, population, ecology, biodiversity, fireflies, scientist profilemoving window, long-term data, standardize, sampling effort, division, count, unnecessary variablesline, scattercontinuous, categoricalsummarized, full dataset available, Digital Data Nugget
Buried seeds, buried treasure2germination, plants, seed bank, seed viability, scientist profilelong-term data, trendscattercontinuousraw
Mowing for monarchs, Part I2community science, citizen science, animals, behavior, biodiversity, community science, disturbance, ecology, plants, insects, alternative hypothesesaverage, time, rate, fractionbarcategoricalsummarized, full dataset available
A difficult drought2agriculture, biofuels, climate change, plants, carbon, fermentation, ethanol, chemistrymean, range, variability, replication, sample sizebarcontinuous, categoricalsummarized, full dataset available
Mowing for monarchs, Part II2community science, citizen science, animals, behavior, biodiversity, community science, disturbance, ecology, plants, insects, predation, alternative hypothesesaverage, time, rate, fractionbarcategoricalsummarized, full dataset available
Does more rain make healthy bison babies?2animals, ecology, keystone species, plants, prairie, precipitationmean, time, regression, long-term data, unnecessary variablesline, scattercontinuoussummarized, full dataset available
Benthic buddies2adaptation, animals, arctic, biodiversity, ecology, environmental, invertebrates, lagoons, marinemeanbarcategoricalsummarized
Are plants more toxic in the tropics?3herbivory, diversity, plants, insects, ecology, adaptation, chemistrystandard deviation (SD), standard error (SE), index, formulabarcategoricalsummarized
Does a partner in crime make it easier to invade?3legume, plants, mutualism, rhizobia, invasive species, soil, scientist profilemeanbarcategoricalsummarized
Fair traders or freeloaders?3evolution, legume, plants, mutualism, rhizobia, nitrogen, fertilizationmean, standard error (SE)barcategoricalsummarized
Fertilizing biofuels may cause release of greenhouse gasses3agriculture, biofuels, climate change, fertilization, greenhouse gases, nitrogen, plantsregressionscattercontinuoussummarized, full dataset available, Digital Data Nugget
The ground has gas!3climate change, temperature, greenouse gases, nitrogen, plantsregressionscattercontinuousraw, summarized, full dataset available
Growing energy: comparing biofuel crop biomass3agriculture, biofuels, climate change, fertilization, plants, carbonmean, standard error (SE)barcategoricalsummarized
How the cricket lost its song, Part I3adaptation, animal behavior, animals, rapid evolution, mating, parasitism, scientist profilepercentbarcategoricalraw, summarized
The mystery of Plum Island Marsh3fertilization, fish, food web, marine, mollusk, water, wetland, limnologymeanbarcategoricalraw
Invasion meltdown3climate change, ecology, invasive species, plants, temperaturemean, range, replication, sample sizebarcategoricalsummarized, full dataset available
Is your salt marsh in the zone?3climate change, ecology, plants, sea level rise, substrate, wetland, limnologymeanbarcategoricalraw
Lizards, iguanas, and snakes! Oh my!3animals, biodiversity, disturbance, restoration, urban, transectcount, additionbarcategoricalraw
What do trees know about rain?3climate change, dendrochronology, ecology, plants, precipitation, temperature, watermean, formula, equation, addition, multiplicationlinecontinuousraw, full dataset available
CSI: Crime Solving Insects3animals, insects, parasitismweighted meanbarcategoricalraw
Does sea level rise harm saltmarsh sparrows?3animals, birds, sea level rise, climate change, disturbance, ecology, wetland, limnologymean, standard deviation (SD)linecontinuoussummarized
Keeping up with the sea level3climate change, disturbance, ecology, sea level rise, plants, substrate, wetland, limnologyformula, equation, rateline, scattercontinuous, categoricalraw
The birds of Hubbard Brook, Part II3animals, biodiversity, birds, climate change, succession, disturbance, habitat, ecologycount, long-term dataline, scattercontinuous, categoricalraw, full dataset available, Digital Data Nugget
How the cricket lost its song, Part II3adaptation, animal behavior, animals, rapid evolution, mating, parasitism, scientist profilemeanbarcategoricalraw, summarized
Feral chickens fly the coop3adaptation, animals, behavior, birds, ecology, evolution, invasive species, mating, heredity, geneticsproportion, percentbarcategoricalraw, summarized
Raising Nemo: Parental care in the clown anemonefish3animals, behavior, coral reef, ecology, fish, marine, mating, tradeoff, plasticity, scientist profilemean, standard error (SE)barcategoricalraw
When a species can’t stand the heat3animals, climate change, disturbance, ecology, environmental, mating, temperature, sex ratioaddition, percent, ratio, regressionscattercontinuousraw, full dataset available, Digital Data Nugget
Are you my species?3adaptation, animals, behavior, biodiversity, competition, evolution, fish, matingformula, equation, addition, subtraction, division, regressionscattercontinuousraw
Marsh makeover3bodiversity, disturbance, ecology, greenhouse gases, mud, plants, restoration, wetland, limnologystandard error (SE)bar, linecategoricalraw, summarized
To bee or not to bee aggressive3animals, behavior, genes, insects, tradeoff, plasticity, aggressionmean, effect size, percent change, rangebarcategoricalsummarized, full dataset available, Digital Data Nugget
Why are butterfly wings colorful?3adaptation, animals, insects, models, predation, alternative hypothesesfraction, proportion, probabilitybarcategoricalsummarized
City parks: wildlife islands in a sea of cement3animals, biodiversity, ecology, urban, island biogeography, parks, camera trapShannon Wiener Index, formula, equation, sum, proportion, regressionscattercontinuoussummarized, full dataset available
Is it better to be bigger?3adaptation, animals, evolution, predation, natural selectionmean, percent, rate, regressionscattercontinuoussummarized, Digital Data Nugget
Is it dangerous to be a showoff?3adaptation, animals, evolution, predation, tradeoff, natural selectionpercent, rate, regressionscattercontinuous, categoricalsummarized
What big teeth you have! Sexual selection in rhesus macaques3adaptation, animals, evolution, sexual selection, sexual dimorphism, scientist profilemean, standard deviation (SD)barcontinuous, categoricalraw, Digital Data Nugget
Bringing back the Trumpeter Swan3animals, biodiversity, birds, ecology, environmental, restorationmean, long-term data, countlinecontinuous, categoricalraw, full dataset available, Digital Data Nugget
Are forests helping in the fight against climate change?3climate change, carbon, ecology, greenhouse gasses, photosynthesis, plants, decomposition, respirationregression, long-term datascattercontinuousraw
Can biochar improve crop yields?3agriculture, environmental, fertilization, plants, soil, water, biochar, carbonpercent, mean, standard deviation (SD), yield, replication, sample size, randomizationbarcontinuous, categoricalsummarized
Hold on for your life! Part I3adaptation, animals, disturbance, evolution, natural selection, genetic drift, hurricane, biological significance, alternative hypothesesargumentation, mean, standard error (SE)barcontinuous, categoricalsummarized
Hold on for your life! Part II3adaptation, animals, disturbance, evolution, natural selection, genetic drift, hurricaneargumentation, visual datavisualraw, photo, video
Testing the tolerance of invasive plants3ecology, herbivory, invasive species, plants, tolerancestatistical interaction, mean, standard error (SE)barcategoricalsummarized, full dataset available
Picky eaters: Dissecting poo to examine moose diets3animal behavior, animals, ecology, foraging, herbivory, parks, predator-prey1:1 line, proportion, mean, unnecessary variablesscattercontinuous, categoricalsummarized, full dataset available
Candid camera: capturing the secret lives of carnivores3animals, biodiversity, carnivores, ecology, island biogeography, richness, camera trap, parksregressionmap, scattercontinuoussummarized
Crunchy or squishy? How El Niño events change zooplankton3algae, animals, marine, El Niñooutlier, correlation vs. causation, unnecessary variablesline, scattercontinuousraw
Streams as sensors: Arctic watersheds as indicators of change3climate change, ecology, environmental, carbon, nitrogen, permafrost, limnologyunnecessary variables, regression, long-term datascattercontinuoussummarized
The end of winter as we’ve known it?3climate change, ice coverJulian date, mean, regression, messiness, variabilityscattercontinuoussummarized, full dataset available
Working to reduce the plastics problem3plastics, synthetic materials, chemistry, biodegradable, elastomer, polymer, monomer, stress, strain, physical sciencepercent, ratiolinecontinuoussummarized
Limit by limit: Nutrients control algal growth in Arctic streams3nitrogen, nutrients, phosphorus, nutrient limitation, law of the minimum, Arctic, limnologyresponse ratio, graph choice, standard deviation (SD)barcategoricalsummarized
To reflect, or not to reflect, that is the question3albedo, arctic, climate change, environmental, ice, temperature, waterequation, unnecessary variables, regressionline, scattercontinuoussummarized
How milkweed plants defend against monarch butterflies3herbivory, evolution, coevolution, plants, insects, ecology, scientist profilemean, regression, best fit line, trend line, multiple dependent variables, messiness, outlierline, scattercontinuoussummarized
Purring crickets: The evolution of a new cricket song3adaptation, animal behavior, animals, rapid evolution, mating, parasitism, scientist profilemean, percent, Chi-square testbarcategoricalraw, Digital Data Nugget
Round goby, skinny goby3local adaptation, animals, biodiversity, rapid evolution, fish, Great Lakes, habitat, invasive species, Kalamazoo Rivermean, standard error, replication, sample sizebarcategoricalsummarized, full dataset available
David vs. Goliath3aggression, animals, behavior, brain chemistry, competition, insects, physiology, biological significancefrequency, proportion, percent, unnecessary variablesbarcategoricalraw, summarized
Size matters - and so does how you carry it!3adaptation, animals, evolution, insects, sexual selection, tradeoffsresiduals, trend, multiple graphs, standardizescatter, linecontinuousraw, summarized, full dataset available
Ant wars!3aggression, animals, behavior, competition, insectsdensity, ratio, percent, regression, countbar, line, scattercontinuousraw, summarized
Salty sediments? What bacteria have to say about chloride pollution3bacteria, chemistry, disturbance, environmental, microbes, pollution, salt, urban, water, habitat, time, toxicitymean, concentrationbarcategoricalsummarized
Going underground to investigate carbon locked in soils 3climate change, ecology, environmental, greenhouse gasses, soil carbon, microbes, chemistrymean, standard deviation (SD), regression, best fit line, trend line, correlation vs. causationline, scattercontinuoussummarized
Nitrate: Good for plants, bad for drinking water3agriculture, environmental, fertilization, nitrogen, soil, water, plants, human health mean, time, date, Julian date, concentrationline, scattercontinuous, categoricalsummarized, full dataset available
Trees and the city3biodiversity, ecology, environmental justice, social demographics, urbanspatial data analysis, percent, binned data, average, median, histogrammultiple scatter, spatial mapcontinuousspatial, summarized, full dataset available
Collaborative cropping: Can plants help each other grow?3agriculture, environmental, plants, cropsreplicates, correlation vs. causation, regression, trendmultiple scattercontinuousraw
The sound of seagrass3acoustics, sound, photosynthesis, marine, productivity, decibels, physicsaverage, mean, standard deviation, trend, timemultiple scatter, linecontinuoussummarized
Which tundra plants will win the climate change race?3climate change, nutrients, long-term data, competition, plants, ecologymean, trend, time, series, control, long-term datalinecontinuoussummarized
The prairie burns with desire3ecology, prairie, plants, fire ecology, human impact, reproduction, land managementtrend, time, multiple plots, multiple variables, long-term data, proportion, averagescatter, linecontinuoussummarized, full dataset available
Seagrass survival in a super salty lagoon3climate change, ecology, environmental, long-term, marine, plants, salinitydouble y-axis, trend, time, multiple variablesscattercontinuoussummarized
Cheaters in nature – when is a mutualism not a mutualism?4evolution, legume, plants, mutualism, parasitism, rhizobia, nitrogen, fertilizationmean, standard error (SE)barcategoricalsummarized
Dangerous aquatic prey: can predators adapt to toxic algae?4adaptation, algae, evolution, marine, predationmeanbarcategoricalsummarized
Salmon in hot water4adaptation, animals, climate change, evolution, fish, genes, genome, temperature, DNA, heredity, genetics, QTLmeanlinecontinuoussummarized
Urbanization and estuary eutrophication4algae, eutrophication, fertilization, marine, nitrogen, phosphorus, wetland, urban, photosynthesis, respiration, limnologymean, standard error (SE), subtraction, modelbarcategoricalraw
How to escape a predator4adaptation, animal behavior, animals, predation, physiologymean, standard error (SE)barcategoricalraw, summarized
The flight of the stalk-eyed fly4physics, moment of intertia, adaptation, animals, flight, physiologymean, standard error (SE), formula, equation, multiplicationcontinuoussummarized
Make way for mummichogs4animals, biodiversity, disturbance, fish, restoration, wetland, limnologymeanbar, linecontinuousraw, summarized
The Arctic is melting – so what?4climate change, marine, temperature, water, weather, ice, Arctic, albedopercent, modelsdiagramcategorical, modeled datasummarized
Gene expression in stem cells4gene expression, genes, stem cells, DNA, genetics, human healthmeanbarcategoricalsummarized
Bon Appétit! Why do male crickets feed females during courtship?4adaptation, animals, behavior, competition, insects, mating, feeding, alternative hypotheses, scientist profilecount, proportion, regression, multiple regression, unnecessary variablesscattercontinuousraw
Winter is coming! Can you handle the freeze?4ecology, evolution, genes, plants, local adaptation, QTLpercent, standard deviation (SD), standard error (SE)bar, linecategoricalraw, summarized
Finding Mr. Right4animals, animal behavior, biodiversity, birds, evolution, genes, mating, local adaptationmeanbarcategoricalraw
Why so blue? The determinants of color pattern in killifish, Part I4adaptation, animals, biodiversity, evolution, fish, genes, mating, heredity, genetics, close reading activitymean, standard deviation (SD), standarad error (SE)barcategoricalraw, summarized
Why so blue? The determinants of color pattern in killifish, Part II4adaptation, animals, biodiversity, evolution, fish, genes, mating, heredity, geneticsmean, standard deviation (SD), standarad error (SE)barcategoricalraw, summarized
Sticky situations: big and small animals with sticky feet4adaptation, animals, biomimicry, chemistry, physics, scalemean, ratio, multiplication, formula, equation, surface area, mass, volumescatter - logarithmic axescontinuoussummarized
When whale I sea you again?4climate change, marine, temperature, water, whales, DNA, PCR, sex ratiofraction, percent, ratioline, stacked barcontinuous, categoricalraw, Digital Data Nugget
The case of the collapsing soil4climate change, carbon, ecology, plants, phosphorus, sea level rise, respiration, substrate, wetland, limnologyregression, concentrationscattercontinuousraw, Digital Data Nugget
Clique wars: social conflict in daffodil cichlids4animal behavior, animals, competition, fishcount, standard deviation (SD), standarad error (SE)barcategoricalsummarized
Fishy origins4community science, citizen science, DNA, evolution, fish, PCR, marine, microsatellitespercent, proportion, addition, divisionbar, stacked barcontinuous, categoricalraw
Fertilizer and fire change microbes in prairie soil4biodiversity, diversity, grassland, microbes, plants, prairie, soilunnecessary variables, Shannon Wiener Index, meanbarcontinuous, categoricalsummarized
Breathing in, Part I4photosynthesis, carbon accumulation, carbon sequestration, climate change, forest, habitatmean, confidence, global databasebarcontinuous, categoricalsummarized, full dataset available
Breathing in, Part 24climate change, photosynthesis, respiration, carbon, climate modelprecision, percent, model prediction, mean, calculation, equationbarcontinuous, categoricalsummarized, full dataset available
Stop that oxidation! What fruit flies teach us about human health4insects, model species, cell biology, genetics, cellular processes, oxidation, genetics, scientist profilemeanbarcontinuous, categoricalraw, summarized
Love that dirty water4environmental, urban, water, GIS, landscapes, impervious surfaces, ecosystem services, land acknowledgement, human healthmodel, web-tool, simulation, percent change, calculation, mapbar, line, mapcategorical, continuoussummarized
Trees and bushes, home sweet home for warblers4animals, biodiversity, disturbance, ecology, birds, succession, transect, habitatregression, best fit line, trend line, percentscattercontinuoussummarized
Changing climates in the Rocky Mountains4citizen science, climate change, community science, ecology, environmental, plants, precipitation, temperaturemean, trend, timeline, double y-axiscontinuous, categoricalsummarized, photo
Surviving the flood4disturbance, urban, stream, floods, photosynthesis, respiration, stormwaterreference line, percent, negative values, additional variables, difference, unnecessary variables, outlierscatter, linecontinuousraw, summarized
Eavesdropping on the ocean4acoustic ecology, physics, whales technology, mammals, marine biology, renewable energy, population, human impactproportions, calculation, detectionsscatter, barcategoricalsummarized, full dataset available