Top Ten of 2020

As 2020 comes to an end, it is a good time to gather our most-read CompassLive stories from the past year. Each one highlights the work of USDA Forest Service scientists at the Southern Research Station. We hope you enjoy reading this collection, which includes the most popular of 2020 plus a few more that…  More 

Freshwater Fishes of North America, Volume 2

The highly anticipated second volume of Freshwater Fishes of North America was just published by Johns Hopkins University Press. This volume was edited by USDA Forest Service fisheries research scientist Mel Warren and four other editors. Warren also contributed to seven of the book’s 35 chapters. “We are indebted to a large community of ichthyologists,…  More 

Dead Wood, Insects, and Fire

Dead wood is a secret harbor of biodiversity. About one-third of all insect species are saproxylic – or dependent upon dead wood – at some stage in their life cycle. The effects of common forest management practices on this important resource and the insects that use it are understudied, especially in subtropical climates. USDA Forest…  More 

Darter Conservation

Increasingly, recovery plans for imperiled fish species include raising them in captivity and releasing them in the wild. Crystal Ruble of Conservation Fisheries, Inc, with SRS researchers Ken Sterling and Melvin Warren published a protocol for captive propagation of the Yazoo Darter (Etheostoma raneyi). The researchers also summarize its early life-history. Compared to other darter…  More 

When Birds Attack Snakes

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s … birds attacking a Jamaican boa? In a recent study by USDA Forest Service scientists Richard Schaefer and Craig Rudolph (retired), along with colleagues from Jamaica and Washington, DC, the previously undocumented mobbing of Jamaican boas is brought to scientific light. The act of multiple birds screeching…  More 

Impact of Fire Management on Breeding Birds in the Southern Appalachians

To increase the prescribed “burn window” for reaching restoration goals, land managers are now burning during winter (the dormant season) as well as spring and summer (the growing season) and fall. Management goals often include fuel reduction, oak regeneration, habitat improvement for target wildlife species, and forest restoration to conditions once created by Native Americans…  More 

Student to Teacher

In Nacogdoches, Texas, a USDA Forest Service office is located on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA). When not in the field, it’s where research wildlife biologist Dan Saenz works. Saenz works closely with SFA professors. As a guest lecturer in 2007, he met Erin Childress, who was an undergraduate student at…  More 

Dams & Crayfish Genetics

In Alabama, crayfishes are being separated and genetically changed, which increases the risk of local extinction. This work is not done by a mad scientist, but by dams with their reservoirs and unnatural pools of water. A novel study published in the journal Freshwater Biology by USDA Forest Service scientists Zanethia Barnett and Susan Adams,…  More 

Modeling Study on Cattle Feed Crops & River Flow Depletion

A new study uses a USDA Forest Service modeling tool – the Water Supply Stress Index, or WaSSI, ecosystem services model – to explore the relationship between water use, river flows, and fish populations across the conterminous U.S. Brian Richter from the University of Virginia led the study. SRS researcher Peter Caldwell’s expertise with WaSSI…  More 

Targeted Deer Removal Can Reduce Deer-Vehicle Collisions

Deer-vehicle collisions are common, dangerous, and costly examples of human-wildlife conflict in the U.S. Targeted removal (sharpshooting) of deer that linger on the side of the road has proven effective in reducing such conflict in urban areas. USDA Forest Service research wildlife biologist John Kilgo, along with collaborators, tested this strategy in a secure, wooded…  More