In order to fully comprehend humanity’s impact on global ecosystems, and best inform conservation and restoration efforts going forward, it is crucial to understanding how different species adapt to our changing world. University of Michigan researchers at the School for the Environment and Sustainability (SEAS), the LSA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and the Graham Sustainability Institute are examining how organisms adjust to new habitats in an era of human-accelerated climate change, what biological underpinnings exist, and what stakeholders should bear in mind accordingly.
The wow moment, remote
As they figured out how to adapt the lab of their biodiversity course to a virtual setting when classes went remote because of Covid-19, instructors in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) wanted to create moments of discovery for their students to experience the awe and sense of surprise that comes when working with the natural world.
Davis Rabosky wins Meritorious Teaching Award in Herpetology
Alison Davis Rabosky, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology and assistant curator of reptiles and amphibians at the U-M Museum of Zoology, won the 2021 Meritorious Teaching Award in Herpetology, presented by the Herpetology Education Committee.
Why it matters that climate change is shrinking birds
Many of the benefits that humanity derives from the natural world, like the provisioning of oxygen, are priceless. Climate change can threaten these services through the loss of species or shifts in species’ size or abundance. For example, warming temperatures have reduced the size of many birds over the last four decades; this is emblematic of the scale of climate change impacts on the world’s biological diversity.
Longtime U-M entomologist thrilled by arrival of 17-year cicadas in Ann Arbor area
U-M entomologist Thomas Moore was walking in the yard of his Ann Arbor-area home on Monday afternoon when he heard the unmistakable droning buzz of a single periodical cicada in the distance. Moore, 91, has spent nearly seven decades studying periodical cicadas, which emerge every 13 or 17 years and are only found in the eastern half of North America.
Tree of life explorations reveal clues to understanding lineage evolution
“Over the last decade, there have been enormous efforts to sequence hundreds of genes from lineages across the tree of life,” said U-M ecology and evolutionary biology professor Stephen A. Smith. “What we have discovered after analyzing this genetic data is that the individual genes often disagree about the relationships in the tree of life.”
Biodiversity protects bee communities from disease, U-M study concludes
A new analysis of thousands of native and nonnative Michigan bees shows that the most diverse bee communities have the lowest levels of three common viral pathogens. U-M researchers netted and trapped more than 4,000 bees from 60 species. The bees were collected at winter squash farms across Michigan, where both managed honeybee colonies and wild native bees pollinate the squash flowers.
Increased camouflage mismatch in mountain hares
Mountain hares in Scotland show increasing camouflage mismatch due to less snowy winters, a new study shows. Mountain hares are one of 21 species that molt from a dark coat in summer to a white coat in winter to maintain camouflage against snowy landscapes. But due to climate change, the duration of snow cover is decreasing—creating a “mismatch” in seasonal camouflage that exposes the hares to predators.
Michigan coyotes: What’s for dinner depends on what the neighbors are having
Michigan coyotes in most of the Lower Peninsula are the “top dogs” in the local food chain and can dine on a wide variety. But in the Upper Peninsula, coyotes coexist with gray wolves and play a subordinate role in the food web. As a result, the diets of U.P. coyotes contain less meat than Lower Peninsula coyotes.
What's in a word: preservation, restoration, conservation
Restoration often seeks to maneuver an ecosystem into a historical state, returning the vegetative community to what resided there previously. It often involves planting native species, including rare species, in locations where they would have existed historically according to landscape pattern. Yet what if the plants are more successful in different habitats because of changing climates?
Understanding the orangutan: New hope for conservation
Orangutans have long been viewed as an ecologically sensitive species that can thrive only in pristine forests. But a new synthesis of existing evidence has shown that orangutans can, and do, inhabit in areas impacted by humans, and that may mean only good things for the survival of the species.