Top Ten of 2022  

  We hope you enjoy this collection of the most popular CompassLive stories of 2022. 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.   _______________________________ New book on fire ecology and management across the U.S.  A…  More 

Mushrooms, autumn bloomers in the Mississippi Delta and beyond

  This article was originally published by Delta Wildlife in the Fall 2021 issue of Delta Wildlife Magazine (PDF). Autumn is a time when day length shortens and daytime temperatures begin to decline. These environmental cues induce macrofungi (mushrooms and similar large species) to transition from repeating cycles of asexual reproduction, (through vegetative hyphae and…  More 

Earthworms can jump

A worm is a worm is a worm, right? Except that there are more than 7,000 species of worms, and the longer you look, the more complex their world becomes. Earthworms compete. Earthworms invade. Earthworms… jump? “Invasive Asian jumping worms got their name because of the way they thrash around,” says Mac Callaham, a Forest…  More 

Temperature Drives Invasive Asian Earthworm’s Hatching Success

Amynthas agrestis is an Asian earthworm that has become increasingly abundant in North American forests. The earthworms consume massive quantities of leaf litter, disrupt established food webs, and outcompete native species. Ideas for control have been limited by the lack of information on their life history traits, such as optimal hatching temperature. With UGA graduate…  More 

Satellite Mapping of Forest Disturbances Can Help When Field Efforts Are Restricted

A large number of tornadoes struck the Southeast in the spring of 2020. Ordinarily, aerial surveillance and field crews would assess forest damage after windstorms and other disturbances, but the COVID-19 pandemic has limited those operations. USDA Forest Service scientists are showing that, with recent technological advances, disturbance impacts can nonetheless be rapidly mapped at…  More 

Don’t Forget the Soil Fauna

When U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station research ecologist Mac Callaham and post-doctoral researcher David Coyle, D.B. Warnell School of Forest Resources, were teaching a class together at the University of Georgia, they decided to involve their students in writing a manuscript. The paper aimed to call attention to a subject that in recent years…  More 

Into the Rhizosphere: Soil Fungi and Carbon Dynamics

Underneath the Earth’s surface, water, nutrients, and chemical signals are shuttled through a sprawling network between tree roots and soil fungi. “Many forest trees depend on their associated soil fungi for nutrients, as the fungi are better at absorbing nitrogen, phosphorous, and other nutrients,” says U.S. Forest Service ecologist Melanie Taylor. “The trees return the…  More 

Interrrupting an Invasional Meltdown

Earthworms have been described as “ecosystem engineers” because they can transform soil environments in ways – physical, chemical, and biological – that in turn lead to aboveground ecological changes. Most of the 8,000 species of the world’s earthworms stay in areas where they evolved, some occupying very narrow niches, but about 120 “cosmopolitan” or “peregrine”…  More 

Invasive Earthworms, No Joke

Earthworms, the darlings of gardeners, fishers and composters, have a dark side: some are globetrotters and when introduced to new homes can cause real problems, both above and below ground. “Invasive earthworms are a global problem and can cause considerable changes to ecosystems,” says Mac Callaham, research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research…  More