Bats on the Brink

USDA Forest Service researchers are monitoring the effects of white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease from Eurasia that has decimated cave-hibernating bats across the U.S. since its arrival in 2006. “The fungus that causes white-nose syndrome grows on bats in the wintertime. It causes them to wake up during their hibernation and burn their fat reserves,”…  More 

Tri-colored bats & white-nose syndrome

The only mammal that truly flies, bats are celebrated for many reasons. Including their looks. “Tri-colored bats are the cutest little things,” says Susan Loeb of the USDA Forest Service. “They’re tiny – they weigh less than a quarter of an ounce. And each one of their hairs has three colors on it: yellow, black,…  More 

Urban hotspots for invasive insects

About 82% of the U.S. population lives in urban areas, and that number is growing. People are drawn from near and far to cities for jobs, restaurants, and entertainment. They also enjoy green spaces within a bustling cityscape. Parks, forests, and tree-lined streets provide respite and recreation, places to pause and ponder. Trees in urban…  More 

A tribute to Thelma Perry

Thelma J. Perry was one of the first researchers to explore the remarkable relationships between bark beetles and their mutualistic fungi. Perry’s story is a monument to determination. An African American, she was born April 30, 1941 and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. After Perry graduated from high school, she attended Xavier University in New Orleans…  More 

Breaking it down with insects: Deadwood decomposition across the globe

Across the globe, insects can decompose almost 30% of all fallen tree branches, trunks, and other deadwood. The findings have important implications for the global carbon cycle. USDA Forest Service scientists Michael Ulyshen and Grizelle Gonzalez, were part of an international research team that investigated the role of insects in decomposing deadwood in ecosystems across…  More 

Top ten of 2021

We hope you enjoy this collection of the most popular CompassLive stories of 2021. Each article highlights the people, partnerships, and natural wonders of the South. For the past century, USDA Forest Service research has contributed to healthier, more sustainable southern forests.   ______________________ One acorn, two acorns, three acorns, four… How to evaluate acorn crops  Every year, state wildlife…  More 

Catchin’ bugs in the Lari-Leuco container

New containers make it easier to monitor Laricobius beetles and Leucopis silver flies, two important predators of hemlock woolly adelgids. USDA Forest Service managers and partners have released these predators throughout the range of eastern hemlock to help control the invasive adelgids. After two years, the sites are monitored to see if the predators have become…  More 

Prevention is Key: Lessons from Laurel Wilt

Since 2002, forests in the southeastern U.S. have struggled against a disease called laurel wilt. In 18 years, laurel wilt has spread to 11 southeastern states and killed hundreds of millions of trees. A review article by USDA Forest Service scientist Rabiu Olatinwo reflects on the origins and spread of laurel wilt throughout the last…  More 

Fast, Field-Based Diagnosis of Laurel Wilt Disease

The redbay ambrosia beetle (Xyleborus glabratus) and a fungal pathogen (Raffaelea lauricola) were first introduced to the U.S. in the early 2000s. Since then, the deadly duo known as laurel wilt disease has cause widespread mortality among redbay (Persea borbonia), sassafras (Sassafras albidum), and avocado (Persea americana) trees in the southeastern U.S. A team of…  More 

New Species Named After SRS Research Entomologist

Twenty-five years ago, Brian Sullivan saw a fungus growing in bark alongside the small southern pine engraver (Ips avulsus). The beetle is native to the U.S. and commonly kills stressed pine trees. Sullivan, a USDA Forest Service research entomologist, examined the fungus. He identified its genus but could not identify the species – the fungus…  More