Insects have some tricks to prevent getting too hot or too cold, but, like a sweater in a blizzard, they only work up to a point. These tricks contribute to what scientists call the thermal tolerance of an insect species.
Your backyard is the setting for a great ecological debate, and you may engage in this debate, knowingly or not, every spring.
Outside of cities, in natural environments, it has long been noted that herbivore abundance and feeding increases near the equator where the climate is warmer. But does this latitudinal-herbivory pattern observed in natural areas apply to cities?
Does it have to be one or the other? Conservation or pest management? People or birds? I don’t think so, and a new paper from our lab in PeerJ supports this perspective.
False oleander scale feeds on the leaves of hundreds of plant species. In areas where it is abundant, it's a major pest of ornamental plants in nurseries and landscapes.
Fall webworm nests are everywhere right now. Everything that makes a webbed nest is variously referred to as webworms, tentworms, and bagworms but these are not the same.
Like we observed in Raleigh, we found that impervious surface was a robust predictor of tree condition, and that one set of thresholds could be used for red maples across the Southeast.
Hot summer days are tough on plants. It’s even worse when things are dry. This is when spider mites attack.
We are not the only scientists using cities as surrogates for climate change. However, this line of research is in its infancy. We conducted a literature review, led by postdoc Nora Lahr, to compile all the research we could find in which cities were used to predict the effects of climate change.
It is nice to be reminded of why I am an ecologist, why I study trees, and why I care about helping trees grow in cities. Photosynthesis is cool!