Tag Archives: ecosystem

‘Life as Research Scientist’: Grant Connette, Population Biologist

Grant Connette received a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from Davidson College in 2008.  In the Fall of 2009 he began a Ph.D. program in Biology at the University of Missouri.  His general research interests include various aspects of the population ecology, movement behavior, and landscape-scale distributions of animals.  Much of his current research focuses on the behavior, population dynamics, and landscape ecology of terrestrial salamanders in forest landscapes managed for timber production.

Recently we asked Mr. Connette about his research, why it is important and so on. Here is what we learned from him:

Q. Let us start with your research topic. What is your research area? Will you please tell us a bit more on this? What did you find?

Grant Connette: I study the dynamics of salamander populations in forests of the eastern United States.  Much of my current research focuses on how salamander populations respond to timber harvest (i.e. logging).  In a recent study, Dr. Raymond Semlitsch and I found that salamanders are less common in “young” forest (even areas harvested 80-100 years ago) than in more mature forest.  We also found that salamander species which differ in their ability to disperse, or move across the landscape, recovered from timber harvest at different rates.  Species that naturally tend to move more may have recovered faster because there is emigration from surrounding areas that helps rebuild populations after a disturbance like timber harvest. (more…)

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Carbon hotspots: Rivers and streams leak more CO2 than thought

The amount of carbon dioxide escaping from rivers and streams into the atmosphere is much larger than previously thought, according to a new study that maps for the first time the flux of CO2 from inland waters worldwide. Published in the journal Nature, the research reveals the major role these waterways play in the global carbon cycle, the authors said.

“This study solidifies the significance of inland waters as conduits of exchange and provides a framework for inclusion of this exchange in regional and global studies,” said lead author Peter A. Raymond, a professor of ecosystem ecology at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). “Understanding how ecosystems exchange carbon is important, as they currently offset a significant percentage of emissions caused by human activity.” (more…)

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How red crabs on Christmas Island speak for the tropics

Each year, the land-dwelling Christmas Island red crab takes an arduous and shockingly precise journey from its earthen burrow to the shores of the Indian Ocean where weeks of mating and egg laying await.

Native to the Australian territories of Christmas Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, millions of the crabs start rolling across the island roads and landscape in crimson waves when the November rains begin. After a two-week scuttle to the sea, the male crab sets up and defends a mating burrow for himself and a female of his kind, the place where she will incubate their clutch for another two weeks. Before the morning of the high tide that precedes the December new moon, the females must emerge to release their millions of eggs into the ocean. A month later, the next generation of crabs comes ashore. (more…)

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One Tree’s Architecture Reveals Secrets of a Forest, Study Finds

Behind the dazzling variety of shapes and forms found in trees hides a remarkably similar architecture based on fundamental, shared principles, UA ecologists have discovered.

Researchers in the University of Arizona’s department of ecology and evolutionary biology have found that despite differences in appearance, trees across species share remarkably similar architecture and can tell scientists a lot about an entire forest.

Just by looking at a tree’s branching pattern, it turns out, scientists can gather clues about how it functions – for example how much carbon dioxide it exchanges with the atmosphere or how much water transpires through its leaves – regardless of the tree’s shape or species.  (more…)

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Outlook is Grim for Mammals and Birds as Human Population Grows

Average Growing Nation Can Expect 10.8 Percent More Threatened Species by 2050

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The ongoing global growth in the human population will inevitably crowd out mammals and birds and has the potential to threaten hundreds of species with extinction within 40 years, new research shows.

Scientists at The Ohio State University have determined that the average growing nation should expect at least 3.3 percent more threatened species in the next decade and an increase of 10.8 percent species threatened with extinction by 2050.

The United States ranks sixth in the world in the number of new species expected to be threatened by 2050, the research showed. (more…)

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New Approach to Measuring Coral Growth Offers Valuable Tool for Reef Managers

Finds surprising growth patterns in the Florida Keys

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — A new more sensitive weight-based approach for monitoring coral growth in the wild has been developed by U.S. Geological Survey researchers leading to more definitive answers about the status of coral reefs.

Corals and other marine organisms build their skeletons and shells through calcification, the biological process of secreting calcium carbonate obtained from ocean water. This new approach to measuring corals can provide finer-scale resolution than traditional linear measurements of coral growth.  (more…)

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Deep Biosphere Harbors Active, Growing Communities of Microorganisms

The deep biosphere—the realm of sediments far below the seafloor—harbors a vast ecosystem of bacteria, archaea, and fungi that are actively metabolizing, proliferating, and moving, according a new study by scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the University of Delaware (UD).

“This is the first molecular evidence for active cell division in the deep biosphere,” says WHOI postdoctoral investigator Bill Orsi, who was the lead author on the study. Previous studies and models had suggested cells were alive, but whether the cells were actually dividing or not had remained elusive. (more…)

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Life underground

Active microbes discovered far beneath seafloor in ancient ocean sediment

Microbes are living more than 500 feet beneath the seafloor in 5 million-year-old sediment, according to new findings by researchers at the University of Delaware and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI).

Genetic material in mud from the bottom of the ocean — called the deep biosphere —revealed an ecosystem of active bacteria, fungi and other microscopic organisms at depths deeper than a skyscraper is high. The findings were published in Nature on June 12. (more…)

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