Long loathed as a threat and nuisance, the wolf population in Yellowstone National Park was essentially wiped out by the mid-1920s. That changed in 1995, when the National Park Service reintroduced wolves there, with the goal of restoring a natural predator/prey dynamic to the landscape. Find out more in this Science Nation video.
Credit: Science Nation, National Science Foundation
The seasonality of bird migration is shifting in response to climate change. As a result, birds in the United States are arriving at their northern breeding grounds earlier in spring -- and may be departing later in fall. Scientists supported by NSF made the migration shift discovery thanks to information aggregated from two sources: remote-sensing data from weather surveillance radar and ground-based data collected in citizen science databases. Find out more in this discovery.
Credit: Kyle Horton
The Division of Environmental Biology (DEB) of the Biological Sciences Directorate supports fundamental research on populations, species, communities and ecosystems. Scientific emphases range across many evolutionary and ecological patterns and processes at all spatial and temporal scales.
Macrosystems biology might be called biological sciences writ large. To better detect, understand and predict the effects of climate and land-use changes on organisms and ecosystems at these large scales, the NSF Directorate for Biological Sciences has awarded $15.9 million for 12 new MacroSystems Biology and Early NEON (National Ecological Observatory Network) Science projects.
October 24, 2016
Food and Fear: Modeling animal tradeoffs shaped by landscape complexity
Ecologists take a comprehensive look at sagebrush habitat through the eyes of a small, but important, resident
The Lemhi Valley is a high desert sagebrush steppe environment in eastern Idaho, along the border with Montana. It's a critical habitat and a gorgeous piece of intact sagebrush landscape, according to University of Idaho mammalian ecologist Janet Rachlow. It also happens to be home to the pygmy rabbit, which is the reason Rachlow and her colleague, Washington State University foraging ecologist Lisa Shipley, are here with a group of research students.
Data from tracking collars the team puts on the rabbits and imagery from unmanned aerial vehicles help generate maps that show where and when the rabbits spend their time, and ultimately, how the mammals use and shape this ecosystem.
Rachlow and Shipley, along with Boise State University physiological ecologist Jennifer Forbey, have chosen a broad approach, looking at behavioral, nutritional, chemical, spatial and physiological ecology to evaluate comprehensively the factors that influence habitat use. What they learn about the links between habitat features and habitat use could help inform future decisions involving land management and restoration for these types of environments.
The research in this episode was supported by NSF award #1146166, "Collaborative Research: Modeling the Tradeoffs within Food-, Fear-, and Thermal-Scapes to Explain Habitat Use by Mammalian Herbivores."
Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations presented in this material are only those of the presenter grantee/researcher, author, or agency employee; and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.