Pondberry Responds to Light Availability and Soil Flooding

Pondberry is endangered, but it can persist through environmental stress. It prefers partial sun but can linger in deep shade for years. It can survive long periods of soil flooding, and even flowers while it’s flooded. “All indications are that this species would benefit from active management,” says Emile Gardiner, a USDA Forest Service research…  More 

Ying Ouyang Receives Soil Science Society of America’s Highest Honor

Research hydrologist Ying Ouyang was recently named a 2019 Fellow by the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA), the highest recognition bestowed by the organization. The SSSA is an international scientific society whose members are dedicated to advancing the field of soil science to sustain global soils. Each year, members nominate colleagues based on their professional…  More 

Research for Mississippi and Beyond

Water defines the Mississippi Delta, an alluvial plain in northwest Mississippi. The Delta is sandwiched between the Yazoo and Mississippi Rivers, and a network of levees and pumps aim to keep the land dry enough for habitation and agriculture. In 2019, however, historic flooding left fields inundated for months. USDA Forest Service scientists have served…  More 

Using CAT in Local Watersheds

General circulation models use math to predict the future – future rainfall and temperature data, for example. But GCMs are meant for global or regional scales. “CAT is better for fine scales,” says USDA Forest Service research hydrologist Ying Ouyang. CAT, the Climate Assessment Tool, is a model developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.…  More 

Women In Science: Zanethia Barnett

The Women in Science series features women scientists from across the Southern Research Station (SRS) – their education, career paths, challenges, achievements, and inspirations. Meet Zanethia Barnett, a natural resource specialist from the Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research in Oxford, Mississippi. Specializing in freshwater fauna and aquatic ecosystems, Barnett conducts her research in the lakes, streams,…  More 

Coastal Plain Fish Diversity and Introduced Small Wood

Coastal plain streams don’t always have swirling eddies or meandering bends. “They can look more like drainage ditches than natural streams,” says USDA Forest Service technician Ken Sterling. Agriculture, flood abatement, and residential development have all contributed to stream straightening in this region. The result? Streams incise and downcut, like a canyon. “These streams are…  More 

Post-Fire Mortality for Southern Hardwoods

Drive down Highway 7 in northern Arkansas, winding through the Ozark National Forest, and you may glimpse evidence of recent fire: scorched grass, darkened tree bark, maybe even a lingering wisp of smoke. Traces of prescribed burning can be seen throughout the South. Prescribed fire is a critical tool for forest restoration. A new study…  More 

Vernal Crayfish Life History and Habitat Use

What to call a freshwater crustacean that resembles a small lobster? USDA Forest Service scientist Zanethia Barnett has a clever answer: “I study crayfish, but I eat crawfish.” More than half of the nation’s 357 species of crayfish — also known as crawdads, mudbugs, or yabbies — can be found in the Southeast. Crayfish break…  More 

Rediscovering the Yalobusha Rivulet Crayfish

In 1989, Joseph Fitzpatrick discovered the Yalobusha rivulet crayfish (Hobbseus yalobushensis). After the species description was published, silence reigned. For the next 29 years, no studies focused on the species. “That’s not uncommon,” says USDA Forest Service aquatic ecologist Susan Adams. “We know very little about the ecology and life history of many crayfish species.”…  More 

Bottomland Hardwood Restoration – What Happens Belowground?

If something looks like a forest, does it act like a forest? U.S. Forest Service research ecologist Mac Callaham, along with several colleagues, asked that question about bottomland hardwoods in west-central Mississippi. “Back in the late 1960s, there was a soybean boom, and a lot of bottomland forests were cleared for farming,” says Callaham. However,…  More