Invasive Species

Written by charlie   
Tuesday, 05 April 2016 01:28
When, and under what circumstances do you fight to eradicate invasive species? Are all invasives as bad as portrayed? In a recent article, it portrays a common reaction to the unknown, namely abhorrence gradually changing towards recognition that the new species may not have been as bad as first believed. At what point does the invasive villain morph into something less dangerous? Obviously this is a loaded questions, as some species are a clear detriment outside of its native environment.

Do invasives sometimes benefit their new environment? The author makes the case for Tamarack and bees, both originally do others benefit the natural environment, wetlands in particular? Do Phragmites reeds, whom i generally scowl at and peer menacing down my nose at, when confronted with acres of monoculture stands, provided unrealized benefits, including soil stabilization in the face of rising sea levels, which goes unrecognized? Life, and biology is complicated. Apparently so is making the distinction between harmful and beneficial invasive species, but as with all things, the truth often nuanced and subtle.
 
 

Spring and Birdhouses

Written by charlie   
Friday, 18 March 2016 19:49
In 3 short days, Spring, the season of vernal pools, skunk cabbage and birdhouses will be here! While tangentially about wetlands, the information found on sialis.org, a Connecticut based bluebird site, is a encyclopedia of bird lore, particularly about how to dissuade the invasive house sparrow and grackle from taking over your birdhouse. The site also has helpful information about the tree swallow, which catches all of its food on the wing, to the tune of 2,000 insects per night to feed its young, second only to the bat which is estimated to capture between 6,000 - 8,0000 per night. With the general anxiety about mosquitoes, and the Zita virus, its a good time to put up some swallow and bat houses to keep mosquito populations at bay.

Some other good resources:
FWS page on Invasives and Birdhouses
CT DEP page on Bluebirds
 

New Discoveries with Venus Fly Traps

Written by charlie   
Monday, 07 March 2016 16:16
One of the worlds most recognized plants, the Venus flytrap still amazes. It's carnivorous appetite, an adaptation to nutrient poor bog soil, is well known, but recently discovered was the plants ability to "count". To reduce false alarms, the flytraps sensory trigger hairs do not immediately fire when disturbed, but like any good predator, will wait until the hair is jiggled more than once, ensuring that a meal, and not a stray breeze, snaps the jaws closed. Considering the plant has been studies for centuries, its surprising that its common sense approach to minimizing false alarms hadn't been previously discovered.

Watch a video here
 
 

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