Graduate student Kevin Beiler has found that all trees in dry interior Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. glauca) forests are interconnected, with the largest, oldest trees serving as hubs, much like the hub of a spoked wheel, where younger trees establish within the mycorrhizal network of the old trees.
Through careful experimentation, recent graduate Francois Teste determined that survival of these establishing trees was greatly enhanced when they were linked into the network of the old trees. Through the use of stable isotope tracers, he and Amanda Schoonmaker, a recent undergraduate student in Forestry, found that increased survival was associated with below ground transfer of carbon, nitrogen and water from the old trees.
From This American Life Episode 441: “Why would a company rent an office in a tiny town in East Texas, put a nameplate on the door, and leave it completely empty for a year? The answer involves a controversial billionaire physicist in Seattle, a 40 pound cookbook, and a war waging right now, all across the software and tech industries.”
Climate scientist Heidi Cullen on extreme heat: “That’s always been sort of the sinister aspect of heat, which is from a television standpoint, what kind of imagery do you show to really make people understand that this is an incredibly deadly situation. It’s a really tough kind of thing to convey with visual images. So you just, you see images like water fountains spraying water and people at the beach, but those are not necessarily the things that our brain thinks of as dangerous. But it really, really is.”
Entolomologist Mark Moffett on male ants: “They have two functions. To have sex and die. And apparently that’s satisfactory for them. They don’t participate in the social life.” [complete interview and slideshow of ants here]