Focus on Joseph O’Brien

This is a new type of article focusing on the people behind the science. These articles will profile SRS employees – from different job series and locations – whose work fulfills and supports the Station’s mission. “I am intrigued by the connection between fire and its role in maintaining biodiversity,” says Joseph O’Brien, a research…  More 

Purified clay needed!

Chase Earles, an award-winning Oklahoma potter, needed clay. The clay could not come from Winterville Mounds but needed to come from somewhere in Washington County, Mississippi. Winterville Mounds is a massive and pivotally important Pre-Columbian Native American site located in Washington County. Clay could not be dug from the mounds, as they are an archaeological…  More 

Fighting future fires

Climate change threatens communities around the world with the promise of more floods, drought, extreme heat, hurricanes – and wildfire. As these events increase in frequency, they will add new pressures to the federal budget. The USDA Forest Service has already taken proactive steps to mitigate some of these impacts. The agency recently established a…  More 

Barnett receives Society for Freshwater Science award

USDA Forest Service fisheries biologist Zanethia Barnett is the winner of the 2022 Society for Freshwater Science (SFS) Hynes Award for New Investigators. The Hynes Award goes to a senior author of an outstanding primary publication within the last three years. Barnett won the award for a 2020 publication in Freshwater Biology that was the…  More 

Without fire, trees become more susceptible to it

Historically, fires frequently burned Southern Appalachian forests. Many tree species evolved traits that aided survival in this fire environment. However, with the exclusion of fire from these forests for many decades, new research suggests traits that once made trees resistant to fire may now make them more susceptible to it. USDA Forest Service scientists Melanie…  More 

Earthworm diversity linked to latitude and isolation

Earthworms don’t get enough attention, according to USDA Forest Service research ecologist Mac Callaham. “Earthworms have profound influences on soil habitat and other soil animals,” says Callaham. “They’re called ecosystem engineers. Their behavior and influence can help us understand how the systems are functioning and how we can best manage natural resources.” But until we…  More 

Prescribed fire history affects pollinator diversity in southern forests

Landscapes with diverse fire histories – or pyrodiverse landscapes – have higher diversity of pollinators, as a recent study by USDA Forest Service scientist Michael Ulyshen shows. The study was published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Tall Timbers Research Station, the study location, is nestled in the Red Hills Ecoregion of the Coastal…  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 

Forests to Faucets 2.0

Standing on the banks of the Yadkin River in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, the river tumbles peacefully by. The river water has made a long journey: it originated as rainfall deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. It flows through the Uwharrie, Sumter, and Francis Marion National Forests. It travels through Winston-Salem, Charlotte, and Charleston…  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