Article Ecology
Dengue-resistance Spreads in Mosquitoes
Satellites Spy on Fish Farms
Fukushima Birds Affected
Boozing for Better Health
Climate Conflict of Interest?
One Year On
Antarctic Invasion
Lions Up Close
More Maternal Effort Means More Robust Offspring
Pesticide Problems for Bees
Ants Share Pathogens for Immunity
Poisonous Shrooms Battle Cancer
Colony Collapse from Pesticides?
Insect Battles, Big and Small
Spotted: Emperor Penguins
Melting Ice Releases Ancient Microbes
Pigeon GPS Identified
It’s Raining Mice
Ocean Plastic Aid Insects
Can Fish Eco-Labeling be Trusted?
How Prawns Lure Prey
Food's Afterlife
A Greener Arctic
The Ecology of Fear
  The Ecology of Fear
Looking at the interplay between living organisms and the soil chemistry that in turn supports life, researchers have found that stressed insects die with less nitrogen in their bodies, providing fewer nutrients to the soil and slowing the rate of plant-matter decomposition. The study, published last week (June 14) in Science, suggests that insect interactions and diversity can have a dramatic impact on the soil fertility, and consequently, on ecosystem health.

“We were interested in bridging two subfields of ecology—organism ecology and biogeochemistry—in a way to make predictions about how food web structure can affect nutrient cycling,” first author Dror Hawlena of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem told Nature.

The researchers housed one set of grasshoppers together with predatory spiders, which had their mouth-anatomy glued shut so that the experimental grasshoppers would not actually be eaten, while another set was housed with no spiders. When the grasshoppers died, the researchers added their decomposing bodies to soil along with leaf litter. After 3 months, the plant matter in the soil seeded with afraid grasshoppers had decomposed 200 percent less than the plant matter in soil treated with unafraid grasshoppers.

“The traditional view is that plants and microbes are the main players linking the biotic and the abiotic world, but here we have shown that predators can actually regulate microbes by affecting the chemical composition of their own prey,” Hawlena told Nature.
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No Sex Required
Old New Species
Beetles Warm BC Forests
Coughing Seashells
Marlboro Chicks
Fighting Microbes with Microbes
Fly Guts Reveal Animal Inventory
Cities Affect Global Weather Currents
Modeling All Life?
Killer Kittens
Opinion: Paradoxical Amphibians
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Diversity Defeats Disease
Icy Algae in a Changing Arctic
Native Frogs Beat Invasive Toads
Bridges for UK Water Voles
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Arctic Foxes Suffer from Seafood Diet
Plants Communicate with Help of Fungi
Ladybird Bioterrorists
Arctic Bacteria Thrives at Mars Temps
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Bird Bullies
An Ocean of Viruses
Science on Lockdown
West Coast Marine Threat
The Gigapixel Camera
Mixed Report for Oiled Salt Marshes
EPA to Regulate Greenhouse Emissions
Genetic Shift in Salmon
A Scientist Emerges
Life (Re)Cycle
How Green Are Your Fish?
School Teachers Release Invasives
Zoo Virus Swap
Mothers-In-Law and Menopause
Stalking Sharks
From Plants and Fungi to Clouds
Good Vibrations
Down and Dirty
Dogs Improve Beach Sanitation
A Funding Reboot
Agriculture-Ecology Initiative Announced
Evolving Dependence
Beard Beer
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Natural-Born Doctors
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