STUDENT REFLECTIONS FROM THE 2018 VT ECUADOR STUDY ABROAD TRIP
Written by Mark Feinberg, Undergraduate Student in the Water: Resources, Policy and Management Program within the College of Natural Resources
This trip has been the best experience in nature that I have ever had. We have visited places with the most amazing wildlife and food. In the highlands of the Andes, for example, we went to a lodge that had hundreds of hummingbirds. They would even land on you if you ...Read More →
Greetings from the cloud forest!! We completed the first leg of our adventure in the lowland Amazon rainforest. Toucans, tarantulas, hoatzins, scarlet macaws, and caiman…just to name a handful of the species we observed in one of the most biodiverse places on earth. The Shiripuno Lodge made us feel at home in the most remote place most folks in our group will ever experience. The rainfall was epic, even by Amazon standards. A lifetime of experiences and stories, and considerable personal growth for students ...Read More →
By Justin Nobel
As Hurricane Irma slammed into south Florida in September, Dan Clark, manager of a complex of four national wildlife refuges in the Florida Keys, had evacuated and was at his mother’s house near Tampa. His eye was on the weather and his mind was on the multitude of plants and animals that inhabit the unique refuge system he oversees, which includes the well-known Key Deer National Wildlife ...
Local farmers and gardeners who want to attract native pollinators to their plants may be interested in the summer research project of Laura Stange, a rising senior majoring in horticulture in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Funded by the Fralin Life Science Institute’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Stange observes and analyzes the behavior patterns of pollinators around plots of native wildflowers at Kentland Farm in Blacksburg, Virginia. Her goal is to determine which pollinator species prefer which ...Read More →
Smithsonian Scientists Release Frogs Wearing Mini Radio Transmitters Into Panamanian Wilderness
Lisa Belden, Angie Estrada, and Daniel Medina are Global Change Center affiliates in the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech. Their amphibian research was recently featured in the following video and online article at The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. The article originally appeared as a blog post on the website of the Amphibian Rescue & Conservation Project.
“Ninety Limosa harlequin frogs (Atelopus limosus) bred in human care are braving the elements of ...Read More →
A Virginia Tech graduate student is living in one of the hottest and driest countries in the world this semester so that he can study how climate change, land management, and other human-caused phenomena impact a community of animals known as the cavity guild.
Composed of birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians, and invertebrates, the cavity guild, biologically speaking, is a group of animals that depend on holes and crevices in trees for their ...
John D. Willson recently published a paper in the Journal of Applied Ecology titled, “Indirect effects of invasive Burmese pythons on ecosystems in southern Florida”.
Willson’s research paper was highlighted in the online magazine, Anthropocene, published by Future Earth:
Invading pythons and the weird, uncertain future of the Florida Everglades
By Brandon Keim | February 8, 2017
The Florida Everglades are one of Earth’s biological marvels, a vast slow-moving river in whose marshes live—even at this late date, with water diverted, pollution injected and human ...Read More →
The soil beneath our feet is not as biologically diverse as scientists previously thought, according to a research team that includes a Virginia Tech soil microbial ecologist.
Leftover DNA from dead organisms — known as “relic DNA” — has historically thrown a wrench into estimates, causing scientists to overestimate microbial diversity by as much as 55 percent. Understanding microbial diversity in soil is crucial for understanding how environmental processes like atmospheric nitrogen fixation and climate change occur.
But a ...Read More →
The extinction crisis is far worse than you think. In all of Earth’s history, there have been five mass extinction events. You can see them charted here. Now, we’re on the verge of the sixth extinction. And three-quarters of all species could vanish. Imagine three out of four species that were common are gone. This is the first time humans have caused anything like this.Read More →
On the 33-acre Prairie Drifter Farm in central Minnesota, farmers Joan and Nick Olson are cultivating more than just organic vegetables. Alongside their seven acres of crops – including tomatoes, cucumbers and onions – they’ve also planted flowering plants, dogwood and elderberry hedgerows to accommodate species of bees and butterflies essential for the health of the crops.
The Olsons are not beekeepers, but they are part of a movement to reconnect sustainable farming to a healthy environment. As ...Read More →
Brandon Semel, Ph.D. student in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation
“I’m currently writing this at 2:30 am, Madagascar time, as I wait for the local taxi brousse (or bush taxi) to take me from the small town of Daraina to the coastal cities of Vohemar and Sambava where I can finalize my research permits. Let’s just say that things here don’t always go according to a western schedule, as my ride is already half an hour late ...
Home decor has never been so useful.
An endangered woodpecker carries wood-eating fungi into its tree cavity home that ultimately help to expand the home’s size, according to a multi-institutional team led by a Virginia Tech researcher.
The finding, which comes after more than two years of experimental research in a protected area on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, was recently published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Researchers determined that the red-cockaded woodpecker ...Read More →
BLACKSBURG, Va., March 2, 2016 – Aquatic life can suffer when high concentrations of dissolved salts enter freshwater ecosystems, a process known as salinization.
An international, multi-institutional team of researchers that includes a Virginia Tech graduate student recommends ways that humans can protect freshwater from salts in a recent article in the journal Science.
The recommendations include the use of less water for agricultural practices, less salt for road de-icing, less discharge or sequestering salts during ...Read More →
Brandon Semel is a PhD student in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech and a fellow in the Interfaces of Global Change IGEP. This story was first published as a Student Spotlight at Fralin Life Science Institute.
Flying high for conservation: an Interfaces of Global Change fellow will use drones to help save lemurs
Brandon Semel’s doctoral research can be traced back to a picture book.
Within the book are images of bushy tailed lemurs, hand drawn ...Read More →
Populations of bees, butterflies and other species important for agricultural pollination are declining, posing potential risks to major world crops, a UN body on biodiversity said Friday.
“Many wild bees and butterflies have been declining in abundance, occurrence and diversity at local and regional scales in Northwest Europe and North America,” said an assessment by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
It said declines had also been detected elsewhere ...Read More →