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Articles on Ecosystems

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Changes in climate affect the timings of various points in the life cycle of plants, including when flowers bloom in spring and when leaves wither in autumn. (Shutterstock)

Climate change is altering the seasonal rhythm of plant life-cycle events

Climate change is modifying the timing of recurrent life-cycle events with critical consequences on ecological and economic levels.
Changes in vegetation and temperature affect wildlife and humans, as well as the climate. Lisa Hupp/USFWS

Arctic greening won’t save the climate – here’s why

The growing season on the tundra is starting earlier as the planet warms, but the plants aren’t sequestering more carbon, a new study finds.
Shutterstock

In 20 years of studying how ecosystems absorb carbon, here’s why we’re worried about a tipping point of collapse

As climate change pressures intensify, ecosystems may lose their ability to bounce back from disasters.
Mistletoes parasitising African locust bean trees in Amurum Forest Reserve. Abidemi Raji

Mistletoes, locust bean trees and birds work together in Nigeria’s forest ecology

Reforestation programmes should consider the parasitic relationship between mistletoes and their hosts and their ecological benefits for bird diversity.
Mosquito eggs float on the surface of a pond. The insecticide Bti is used to kill mosquito larvae, but it could also harm frogs. (Shutterstock)

Are mosquito-killing natural pesticides unintentionally harming frogs?

The insecticide Bti kills target organisms like mosquitoes and blackflies, but new research shows it may also have negative effects on non-target species like frogs.
South Africa has an impressive record of marine biological research in protected areas, but the country needs to pay greater attention to the human aspects. Doug Lang

Protected marine areas should serve nature and people: a review of South Africa’s efforts

The social, ecological and governance objectives of marine protected areas need to be understood to enhance benefits to both people and the environment.
Environmental DNA is a promising tool for tracking species in freshwater ecosystems like Oregon’s Elkhorn Creek. Greg Shine, BLM/Flickr

Scientists at work: We use environmental DNA to monitor how human activities affect life in rivers and streams

Rivers are among the most embattled ecosystems on Earth. Researchers are testing a new, inexpensive way to study river health by using eDNA to count the species that rivers harbor.

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