Diets of Nestling Red-Headed Woodpeckers

The red-headed woodpecker has enjoyed better days. Over the past five decades, the species has suffered sharp declines in the northern and western parts of its range. While that much is clear, the role of their diets in the declines is not. A recent USDA Forest Service study observed the diets of nestling woodpeckers to…  More 

Acorns and Their Predators

Acorns aren’t only for squirrels. They serve as a food source for a variety of wildlife, such as mice, deer, and turkeys. This presents somewhat of a problem for oak trees – acorn producers – because their future depends on acorns surviving and germinating to become the next generation. A recent study by USDA Forest…  More 

Amphibian Life Cycles and Climate Change

From the trees in the forest to the various organisms populating it, all species of plants and animals have periodic life cycle events. Changes in climate have impacted the timing of these life cycle events for many species. This, in turn, can affect how likely coexisting populations are to interact with each other. A study…  More 

Bachman’s Warbler

From 1975 to 1979, Paul Hamel and colleagues spent 7,000 hours walking through the Francis Marion National Forest and adjacent lands in South Carolina, playing the song of the Bachman’s Warbler and listening for the response that never came. “Eventually, my adviser said ‘this is a biology department, not a history department!’ So I expanded…  More 

Can Southeastern Bats and Rock Climbers Share Cliffs?

“Researchers haven’t really studied cliffs as foraging areas for bats,” says USDA Forest Service scientist Susan Loeb. “When so little is known about that habitat, it can be hard to gauge the impacts of different uses or management plans.” Rapid growth in technical climbing has put rock climbers in the same spots as bats. How…  More 

Seminole Bats on the Move

Over the past 48 years, Seminole bats (Lasiurus seminolus) have drastically expanded their range. “The northern edge of their summer range has expanded by 323 miles,” says Roger Perry, a USDA Forest Service research wildlife biologist. “That’s approximately 7 miles a year since 1970.” The western range is also expanding, possibly because forests are replacing…  More 

E-Noses Detect Disease in Plants, Animals & Humans

The fragrance of a rose comes from volatile organic compounds. Living plants, animals, humans, and even inanimate objects emit complex mixtures of VOCs. VOC mixtures are so distinctive that new words are used to describe them: volatilome, breathprint, and smellprint. “There are over 2,000 VOCs in a person’s breath,” says USDA Forest Service scientist Dan…  More 

SRS Contributes to Fourth National Climate Assessment

Long hours, lots of reading, and collaborating with fellow scientists around the world is some of what goes into overseeing a chapter for the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4). SRS senior research ecologist James Vose was a federal coordinating lead author and chapter lead for Chapter 6 – Forests of the NCA4. SRS senior economist…  More 

How I Joined the Wood-in-the-Water Choir

Not everyone knows from an early age what they want to do when they grow up. I did. Raised in a small coastal Maine town that was home base for marine and estuarine research and with an affinity for the outdoors, I knew I was destined to pursue a career in marine biology. Right out…  More 

Forest Birds & Forest Trees

For every stage of forest succession, there’s a bird species that needs it. But others are flexible, thriving in many types of forests. The blue-gray gnatcatcher, eastern wood-pewee, great crested flycatcher, summer tanager, and white-breasted nuthatch are all associated with mature forests. But a recent study suggests these birds are forest generalists rather than mature…  More