Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Toxic nectar affects the behavior of insect pollinators

Natural toxins in nectar and pollen can poison insects and affect their memory, behavior and reproductive success, researchers have found. Toxins in lupin pollen cause bumble bees to produce fewer offspring while chemicals found in rhododendron nectar are toxic to honeybees but not bumble bees, toxic effects that could be contributing to the worrying decline in pollinator species.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Remove Privet to Increase Native Earthworm Populations

Very interesting research is reported in Applied Soil Ecology, 'Removal of an invasive shrub (Chinese privet: Ligustrum sinense Lour)reduces exotic earthworm abundance and promotes recovery of native North American earthworms' by Joshua W. Lobe, Mac A. Callaham Jr., Paul F. Hendrix, and James L. Hanula. Applied Soil Ecology is published by Elsevier B.V.
Abstract: this study investigated the possibility of a facilitative relationship between Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense) and exotic earthworms, in the southeastern region of the USA. Earthworms and selected soil properties were sampled five years after experimental removal of privet from flood plain forests of the Georgia Piedmont region. The earthworm communities and soil properties were compared between sites with privet, privet removal sites, and reference sites where privet had never established. Results showed that introduced European earthworms (Aporrectodea caliginosa, Lumbricus rubellus, and Octolasion tyrtaeum) were more prevalent under privet cover, and privet removal reduced their relative abundance (from >90% to ∼70%) in the community. Conversely, the relative abundance of native species (Diplocardia michaelsenii) increased fourfold with privet removal and was highest in reference sites. Soils under privet were characterized by significantly higher pH relative to reference plots and privet removal facilitated a significant reduction in pH. These results suggest that privet-mediated effects on soil pH may confer a competitive advantage to European lumbricid earthworms. Furthermore, removal of the invasive shrub appears to reverse the changes in soil pH, and may allow for recovery of native earthworm fauna.

Lumbricus terrestris photo by Joseph Berger, Bugwood.org

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Has your neighborhood been invaded?

Do you live in a housing subdivision that used to be farmland? Do you live next door to a self-proclaimed expert gardener with an eye for the exotic? Perhaps you just ordered some bamboo online to plant in your yard as a privacy screen.
Whether or not these scenarios are true for you, chances are invasive plants are attacking your neighborhood. And without your help, we will lose the war on these invaders.

See full article here: http://www.providencejournal.com/opinion/commentary/2014121 . . .

Friday, December 12, 2014

Twelve Invasive Species of Christmas

Twelve Invasive Species of Christmas

A message from Canada. These invasive species can be found in many places in North America. These are twelve presents no one wants to get this holiday season! Make sure you don't give them either by learning how to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Can Wild Pigs Ravaging the U.S. Be Stopped?

See Scientific American article here: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/can-wild-pigs-ravaging-the-u-s-be-stopped/

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Plant invasions in protected areas - free e-book

In occasion of the World Park Congress, the Springer, upon an invitation by the Executive Secretary of the CBD, has generously offered to provide a free download of the book “Plant invasions in protected areas”.

The offer is valid for the next 4 weeks. The links is available on the congress website http://worldparkscongress.org/drupal/node/121 as well as in the ISSG website http://www.issg.org/