Richard W. Harper, UMass Amherst environmental conservation, says the recent severe cold weather could be good news for local forests because some insect pests, such as the hemlock wooly adelgid, can’t survive long stretches of intense cold. The populations of such pests will recover over time, however, experts say.
News from the Media
A team of entomologists, including John M. Clark, UMass Amherst veterinary and animal sciences, has found out why the human head louse and the body louse, the same species, differ in their ability to transmit disease to their hosts. They say head lice are smaller and may contain more beneficial bacteria than body lice, which are larger. The larger lice apparently are more likely to get sick from the bacteria and pass it on to a host.
Klaus Nusslein, UMass Amherst microbiologist, is part of a research team that is studying how the conversion of Amazon rainforest to pastureland has significant effect on microorganism communities that play a key role in the region’s ability to serve as a reservoir for greenhouse gas.
Joseph Elkinton, UMass Amherst environmental conservationalist, is leading efforts to find out if winter moths, destructive insects that have defoliated trees in eastern and southeastern Massachusetts, are moving into this region. He says there are more of them being observed, but so far they haven’t been seen in numbers high enough to cause concern. An online survey of the insects is available to track the insects.
Bonefish are among the most elusive and highly prized quarry of recreational anglers in the Florida Keys, the Bahamas and similar tropical habitats around the world. Now a research team including fish ecologist Andy Danylchuk, Environmental Conservation Department, UMass Amherst, has documented rarely seen pre-spawning behavior in bonefish, which should aid future conservation efforts. Habitat degradation and overfishing by uncontrolled netting threaten the bonefish, yet recreational fishing for this group of fishes is worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually, say scientists. Danylchuk and Aaron Adams, director of operations for Bonefish & Tarpon Trust at the Florida Institute of Technology where Adams is also an assistant research professor, are scrambling to identify and protect critical habitats and identify other ways to conserve the fishery. With others, Adams and Danylchuk recently tracked a school of more than 10,000 bonefish as they completed the final stages of spawning migrations in the Bahamas. Adams recently shared results with the Bahamas Ministry of the Environment and conservation collaborators Bahamas National Trust and The Nature Conservancy.
A research team including fish ecologist Andy Danylchuk, environmental conservation, has documented rarely seen pre-spawning behavior in bonefish, which should aid future conservation efforts. Bonefish, sometimes called the gray ghost, are among the most elusive and highly prized quarry of recreational anglers in the Florida Keys, the Bahamas and similar tropical habitats around the world.
Joseph Elkinton, environmental conservation, comments in a story about the return of winter moths to parts of eastern Massachusetts. He says some areas will see a heavy infestation of the insects.
Carolyn DeMoranville, director of the UMass Cranberry Station in East Wareham, is featured in a story in The Boston Globe magazine. She says she spends most of her time thinking about ways to make the cranberry industry more sustainable and considering what may happen if the climate becomes warmer.
UMass Amherst entomologist Joseph Elkinton and graduate student Monica Davis are featured in a front-page story in The Boston Globe about the oak crypt gall wasp, an insect menace that is killing black oaks in southeastern Massachusetts, Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod and Rhode Island. Elkinton says little is known about the wasps, but he says they pose a severe threat.
Eric Decker, food science, says efforts to get unhealthy trans fats out of the diet of most Americans could have the unintended effect of causing more rainforest to be destroyed to make room for expanded production of palm oil.