Summer at Duck Pond, White Memorial Foundation

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wamogo H.S. Environmental Science Class Earthworm and Invasive Plant Project Continued part 2

Average body length (mm) for earthworms collected living under
 invasive plants versus paired samples without the plants (Control).
Previous posts demonstrated that the Wamogo's Environmental H.S. students observed significantly more earthworms amongst invasive plants versus areas outside of the plant incursion.  The students did not observe any significant differences in the average body length of the worms under any of the invasive plant incursions sampled.  The greatest variation in body length was observed under the Autumn Olive which could be caused the diversity of earthworm species detected associated with the incursion and the controls.

Future posts will include statistical comparisons of earthworm biomass and earthworm species composition in each invasive plant incursion.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

For the Monarch Butterfly, A Long Road Back (New York Times Article)

For the Monarch Butterfly, A Long Road Back (New York Times Article)

I am often asked about the current status of our monarch butterfly population.  This past year very few monarch butterflies were observed on the property, during the summer breeding season and fall migration.  This article details several causes for the severe decline over the past 15 years.  Several nations (Canada, Mexico, and United States) need to cooperate to insure the long-term conservation of this species (Monarch Conservation Plan).  They are not out of the woods yet.

Monarch Butterfly roosting during migration.

For more information visit the Monarch Joint Venture.

Monarch Butterfly Migration Routes

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Close Relative of Chytrid Fungus Kills Salamanders Throughout Europe, is North America Next

Redback Salamander (Plethodon cinereus)

Northern Dusky Salamander (Desmognathus fuscus)

Blue-Spotted x Jefferson Salamander Hybrid (Abystoma laterale x jeffersonianum)

A fungus that primarily kills salamanders has been introduced to Europe from Asia through the pet trade.  If this fungus were to be introduced to North America, the effects could be devestating to a continent that has some of the most diverse salamander species assemblages in the world.  The most abundant vertebrate in the forests of northeastern North America is the Redback Salamander (Plethodon cinereus).  If this invasive fungus were introduced to our regions forests, it could alter how these critical ecosystems function.  Click here to read the New York Times Article