Detecting the Pathogen That Stalks the Endangered Florida Torreya

Florida torreya (Torreya taxifolia) is a critically endangered conifer tree in swift decline since the 1950s. The torreya fungus (Fusarium torreyae) is currently devastating the remaining Florida torreya population. The fungus forms cankers, or localized dead areas, that damage branch or trunk tissue and eventually kill the trees. In the face of extinction from this…  More 

Research Partnerships with Native American Communities

“The Southern Research Station is working with a number of Native American tribes to promote forest ecosystem restoration and sustainability,” says Monica Schwalbach, USDA Forest Service assistant director. The projects focus on sustainability of botanical species that are important to indigenous communities. SRS researcher Michelle Baumflek is the science lead for many of these projects,…  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 

Susan Adams Receives National Rise to the Future Award

USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station aquatic ecologist Susan Adams received the 2019 Rise to the Future Jim Sedell Research Achievement Award. The award was presented during the Forest Service’s Rise to the Future (RTTF) awards reception in Washington, DC. The RTTF awards recognize outstanding individual and group achievements by natural resource professionals in the…  More 

A Snapshot in Time of Threats to U.S. Forests

Hemlock woolly adelgid, gypsy moth, emerald ash borer: ask any USDA Forest Service scientist which insects and diseases pose a threat to our forests, and they could probably name a baker’s dozen. A huge number of insects and diseases have the potential to negatively affect tree species in the United States. However, the danger is…  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 

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 

Definitive New Book on Saproxylic Insects

Bark-feeders, fungus-feeders, wood-borers, and wood-nesting bees – all are saproxylic insects, which means they depend on dead or dying wood. The insects that prey on or parasitize them are also considered saproxylic. “About a third of all forest insect species are saproxylic,” says USDA Forest Service research entomologist Michael Ulyshen. Ulyshen recently edited a definitive…  More 

Fish Hosts for Freshwater Mussels

For a few brief weeks of a mussel’s life, it is a true parasite, taking from its host and giving nothing in return. “Some mussels live more than forty years,” says USDA Forest Service scientist Wendell Haag. Only the larvae, or glochidia, are parasitic. “The interesting thing about this host relationship is that different mussel…  More 

For Nesting Least Terns, Water Levels Matter

Least terns (Sternula antillarum) are small water birds that nest along the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and some of their tributaries, as well as coastal areas in the U.S. Monitoring the species began after the U.S. interior population of least terns was federally listed as an endangered species in 1985. “In the Missouri River basin, least…  More