You are here

Invertebrates

Science Spotlights

A closeup of a bumble bee on a flower.
Pollinators are declining in the Great Plains of North America. Reduced or degraded grasslands produce fewer flowers, which pollinators need. Pollinator management can provide resources to help pollinators withstand a variety of interacting stressors and concurrently support functioning rangeland ecosystems.
Close view of sap tubes on pine bark, evidence of Dendroctonus attacking lodgepole pine
Lodgepole pine growing above 9,000 feet have been under attack by a Dendroctonus insect other than the mountain pine beetle for several years. Trees are not dying as fast as expected. Identifying this beetle species required a new approach.
A screenshot of the eDNAtlas Results Map for the Western United States.
Because of its advantages relative to traditional sampling techniques, environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling is being rapidly adopted to address questions about the distribution of species in streams across the United States. The eDNAtlas provides occurrence information for over 50 species from more than 12,000 samples and assists organizations in collecting more samples for specific areas and species. 
Collecting floral scent of blanketflower (Gaillardia aristata), one of 47 plant species sampled in the community
In diverse communities, bees visit flowers of plants, forming complex webs of interactions. The structure of these webs can tell us about how communities function and guide their conservation and restoration, yet we know little about the cues that regulate these webs. We analyzed floral scent of 47 plant species and bee visitors across the growing season in a meadow community and found that floral scent is a key cue structuring bee-forb...
The riparian vegetation along the upper Gila River in southwestern New Mexico has high richness of woody plants and extremely high densities of nesting birds including the Federally endangered and threatened species
Rivers and streams of the American Southwest have been heavily altered by human activity, resulting in significant changes to disturbance regimes. Riparian vegetation in aridland floodplain systems is critically important as foraging, migrating, and breeding habitat to birds and other animal species. To conserve riparian ecosystems and organisms, understanding how plants and animals are affected by disturbance processes and multiple stressors is...
Milkweed plants are an important host species for both monarch larvae and adult butterflies.
Iconic monarch butterflies are disappearing from the landscape. They require milkweed plants to complete their life cycle. Milkweed seeds are often produced for restoration in nurseries in special beds. Our work shows that once these beds have served their purpose, milkweed taproots can be harvested, stored, and used for restoration, thus increasing the benefit of these beds.
Sheltered from wind and scorching heat, a seedling takes root in mature biological soil crust (photo by Neal Herbert, National Park Service).
Human activity has led to a global decline in biodiversity across all trophic levels, reducing the ability of ecosystems to maintain key functions. The loss of various species in an ecosystem has wide-reaching effects by reducing the numerous and often hidden species-species and species-environment interactions. These disruptions ultimately lead to changes and declines in the ecosystem’s functionality. 
National Genomics Center stream water filter setup for eDNA sample collection
The National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation pioneered development of eDNA sampling of aquatic environments at their laboratory in Missoula, MT. The Center has partnered with dozens of National Forests, as well as other state, federal, tribal, and private natural resource organizations to assist in the collection and processing of eDNA samples. Thousands of eDNA samples are collected annually and constitute a rapidly growing...
Effective conservation and management decisions for habitats require information about the distribution of multiple species but such data is expensive to obtain; this often limits data collection to just a few, high-profile species. Environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling can be more sensitive, and less expensive, than traditional sampling for aquatic species, and a single sample potentially contains DNA from all species present in a waterbody. Cost-...
Cover of Exotic Brome-Grasses in Arid and Semiarid Ecosystems of the Western US – Causes, Consequences, and Management Implications
Invasive annual brome grasses are resulting in altered fire regimes and conversion of native arid and semi-arid ecosystems in the western United States to annual grass dominance. The problem is particularly acute in sagebrush shrublands where cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) has resulted in annual grass fire cycles that are placing numerous native species such as greater sage-grouse at risk and threating ecosystem services such as livestock forage,...

Pages