Drive by a local wetland on an early spring evening, and if you're lucky you'll hear a harbinger of the changing season - the clear chirping chorus of tiny frogs known as spring peepers, classified by biologists as Pseudacris crucifer.
In early spring, shortly after the snow melts, vernal pools dot the landscape. Isolated from larger water bodies, these small wetlands are usually only wet for a few months out of the year. If you are not paying attention, you just might miss them. And that would be a shame, because these oft-overlooked wetlands are valuable and interesting ecosystems.
Cary Institute ecologist Dr. Shannon L. LaDeau is working to understand how environmental conditions influence the spread of undesirable pests and pathogens such as West Nile virus and the hemlock wooly adelgid. This work includes understanding the dynamics of pest communities and taking into account things like land use, climate change, and combined stressors.
Few themes in literature are more alluring than the lost world. Places such as Atlantis, Shangri-La, Conan Doyle's "Lost World", and now the bestselling "The Lost City of Z" conjure up images of strange landscapes, exotic civilizations and hidden treasures.
Ecologists study phenology, which is the orderly progression of seasonal events in nature, such as the springtime arrival of migrating birds, the first chorus of spring peepers in vernal pools, and the development of tree colors each autumn
Despite the fact 60 percent of us in Dutchess County drink groundwater every day, and all of us eat food irrigated by ground water, very few people know where it comes from, where it goes, or that groundwater is full of life
Thankfully, the argument about the reality of global climate change seems finished. The majority of the public now joins the consensus of climate scientists, who have furnished compelling proof that the planet is warming and that humans are at least partly to blame.
What if our children could recognize the birds, plants and insects in their backyards as well as they know the brands of shoes on their feet or the secret weapons they need to get to the next level in a video game?
If you ever saw "Star Wars," you'll remember the trash compactor scene: Trying to escape from the Imperials, Luke and his friends duck into what turns out to be a trash compactor, where things go from bad to worse.
New York state is taking an essential step to deal with invasive species, one of the most damaging and difficult environmental problems of our time, by proposing to limit the importation of ballast water into the state.
Dengue (pronounced DEN-ghee) fever is caused by a virus spread by mosquitoes. It was formerly called "break-bone fever" because it causes excruciating pain to the muscles and joints of its human victims.
We tend to think of nature as having reliable patterns; the leaves turn color each autumn, seasonal birds come and go. But there are also examples of sudden, unexpected changes in the environment around us.
Last year, we received certificates that featured attractive artwork, Alfred Nobel's name, and the King of Norway's signature. No, we didn't win the Nobel Peace Prize. But in 2007, our scientific contributions did help Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change win theirs.
In late summer, after a couple of rainy afternoons, I happened to see several huge mushrooms under a pine tree at the Cary Institute. Mushrooms can be a little deceptive because they appear so suddenly, often seemingly overnight