Friday, May 28, 2010

Invasive Mussel Found in Utah

The Utah Department of Natural Resources found an extremely invasive mussel under a dock at Utah's Sand Hallow Reservoir. State officials want the public to know that this is bad news, is very serious and the public needs to help take action to keep contamination from spreading. Mussels are ecosystem killers because they clog dams and waterways, cut people's feet when they attach to rocks and kill fish by sucking up nutrients. To read more and/or to watch a video on the invasive mussels found in Utah, click here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Biocontrol Released for Water Hyacinth

Water Hyacinth is an invasive, free floating, aquatic plant that is problematic in the southeastern United States. Native to South America, the plant affects water traffic, water quality, water use, biodiversity and infrastructure for pumping and hydroelectric operations. Water Hyacinth also lowers oxygen levels which kill fish and increases populations of vectors of human and animal disease. Scientists have released an insect called Megamelus scutellaris to help control the water hyacinth. These insects feed on the sap of water hyacinth and their population increases rapidly, which will enable them to quickly impact the invasive population. Click here to read more on biocontrol of water hyacinth.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lowndes High Student Invented Way to Kill Kudzu

Jacob Schindler, a sixteen year old at Lowndes County High School, may have the key to breaking kudzu's long hold on Southern terrain. The junior uses helium to eradicate kudzu with a device he designed that allows him to drill into the ground with a small tank of helium and evenly distribute it to the kudzu. All of this happens without harming other plants. What started out as a science fair project when we was only in sixth grade, may have turned into an entrepreneurial endeavor that could change agriculture (and his life) forever. Click here to read more on the teen who can kill kudzu.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

First Bioblitz in Seattle

Seattle's first bioblitz kicked off on Friday along the trails of Washington Park Arboretum. A bioblitz is an intense, 24 hour effort to identify as many species in an area as possible. Botanists stayed up all night identifying flora, insects, fauna, bats, spiders, eagles, salamanders, stinging ants and the list goes on. Nearly 400 species were identified on GPS devices which will become a part of the NatureMapping Program. This program attempts to chart biodiversity in the states. Click here to read more on the bioblitz.

Monday, May 24, 2010

PDF on Kudzu Invasion

Attached is a more thorough article on the new study of kudzu that was posted on Friday. Click here to read more.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Kudzu Poisons Our Air

Kudzu has taken over 7 million acres of land in the United States. With this huge number, scientists thought it was time to take a closer look. They found out that kudzu not only invades landscapes, but might also increase ozone pollution by more than one third in the future. What exactly does this mean? Kudzu grabs nitrogen from the air and puts it in the soil. Microbes then convert the nitrogen into nitrous oxide, which is one of the pollutants that comes from automobile exhaust. The gas escapes from the soil and into the air and undergoes reactions that lead to the creation of ozone. This could lead to more summer days with the ozone in excess of EPA standards. Click here to read more about kudzu poisoning our air.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Emerald Ash Borer continues its march into Pennsylvania

Emerald Ash Borer has continued its spread into Pennsylvania and has now been detected in Bedford County.  This pest has been devastating the native ash trees as it has spread from the orignial introduction in Michigan.  The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is again urging campers not to move firewood since it is the primary way that this pest is spread.  See the PA Department of Agriculture website for the full news release.

New Species Found in Indonesia's Foja Mountains

A team of scientists discovered in only a few short weeks at least a dozen new reptiles, mammals, insects, birds and amphibians in the rain forests on the island of New Guinea. Some of the new species include an imperial pigeon, a Pinocchio-like frog and the world's smallest wallaby. Many of these new animals were found in the mountain tops of the Foja mountains, whose inaccessibility has allowed species to evolve in isolation (hense the nickname: The Lost World). To read more about the new discovery, click here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Invasive Species Discovered Along Oregon's Coast

An invasive species called Didemnum vexillum has been discovered along Oregon's coast. The jelly like organism can smother docks, shellfish beds, coat boat hulls, and water intakes. Native to Japan, the colonial tunicate is on the list of 100 worst invasive species to keep out of Oregon. Oregon scientists have an eradication effort planned for this summer which they hope will be successful. Click here to read more.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spring Best Time to Identify Cogongrass

The University of Georgia's Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health was recently in Southeast Farm Press. Dr. Moorhead, co-director of the Center, wrote an article on identifying cogongrass. To read and learn more on cogongrass and the Center, click here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Weed Calculator

Scientists have developed a weed calculator to help land managers calculate the economic impact from invasive weeds on their property. For example, the calculator tells ranchers how many more cows they can raise if they eliminated one or two widespread invasive plants. This new invention is based on a computer model that utilizes data from 30 weed scientists to predict invasive plant impact on forage production. To read more on the weed calculator, click here.

Friday, May 14, 2010

New State Invasive Species Laws and Regulations

The Environment Law Institute is proud to announce publication of a new report on state invasive species laws and regulations. Click here to view the press release and/or go to to download the information.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Python Hitches A Ride

In Central Florida, a Burmese python slithered underneath a woman's car in a parking lot and refused to come out. A wildlife officer was able to grab the four foot python from underneath the woman's car. The invasive species will be brought to a pet store or to someone who is licensed to have pythons. To read more or watch a video on the story, click here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mosquitoes Insensitive to DEET

DEET is a chemical found in most bug spray. It repels mosquitoes by mimicking plant chemicals. When female mosquitoes need to fertilize their eggs, they are on the lookout for blood not plants. Therefore, a DEET coated human does not smell like a tasty snack. Scientists have recently found DEET insensitive mosquitoes. This trait can be passed down genetically to their offspring. Click here to read more on the DEET insensitive mosquito.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

New Invader in South Florida

The tegu lizard has four legs, sharp claws and can take down your Chihuahua. Native to South America, this invasive species has been found in South Florida and can reach three feet long. The tegu has become a problem because pet owners let them go into the wild. Scientists are trying to regulate the tegu lizard problem by putting them in zoos where they cannot do any harm. Click here to read more about the new invader in South Florida.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Emerald Ash Borer Makes its Way Through Minnesota

Minnesota ranks second in the highest number of ash trees in the nation. However, an invasive species called the Emerald Ash Borer, is killing ash trees and is making its way throughout the state. This wood boring beetle is smaller than the size of a penny, but its damage is massive. The Emerald Ash Borer is one hundred percent fatal to every tree it encounters and experts worry about its spread. To read more about the Emerald Ash Borer, click here.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Farmers Cope With Roundup-Resistant Weeds

American farmer's use of the weed killer Roundup has led to a rapid growth of new tenacious weeds. These new weeds are Roundup resistant and to cope with the problem, farmers from all over the U.S. have to pull weeds by hand, spray more herbicides and do more labor intensive work. Experts say that such efforts could lead to lower crop yields, rising farm costs, higher food prices and more pollution to land and water. Click here to read more about the roundup resistant weeds.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Vermont Rooting Out Japanese Knotweed and Garlic Mustard

Brad Elliot and his team from the Nature Conservancy are working together to root out Japanese knotweed and garlic mustard through the Winooski River floodplain forest in Richmond, Vermont. These two invasive species weaken the riverbank, lessening its ability to protect Richmond from severe flooding. The good thing about Japanese knotweed and garlic mustard is its edible and restaurants in the area use them as ingredients in their meals. To read more about the team eradicating invasive species, click here.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ecological Effects of a Major Oil Spill on Panamanian Coastal Marine Communitites

Ecological Effects of a Major Oil Spill on Panamanian Coastal Marine Communities is a very interesting article about the effects of oil spills to the environment. Click here to view and read.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

America's Aspen in Decline

Aspen is the most widely distributed tree in North America and is also the most beautiful fall tree in the western United States. It ranges from Mexico to Newfoundland to Alaska and the states, Colorado and Utah, have the largest portion of aspen acreage in the world. However, this common tree is dying, in particular older, more mature aspens that exceed 80 years. Silviculturists do not know the exact cause of this die-back. Click here to read more about the aspen die-back.

Monday, May 3, 2010

One Third of Honeybees Died

The Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) and the USDA have completed the fourth annual census of winter honey bee colonies in the U.S. What they found was troubling. Thirty-three percent of all the colonies in the United States died last winter. But that's not all. Of those who completed the census, they lost over forty percent of their colonies. When looking at all the respondents to the census over the previous three years, researchers found a twenty-three percent increase in the average number of honey bees lost. The cause of this massacre...Mother Nature. Let's just hope she is a "better Mother" this season. Click here to read more about the dying honey bees.