In This Issue
- Early Blossoming Flowers in Washington Attributed to Global Warming
- New Journal Announcement
- Job Opportunities
- Information Highway Hi-Lites
- Current Literature
Smithsonian scientists have evidence that Washington's famous cherry trees are blooming on the average seven days earlier than 30 years ago, apparently due to global warming. In a recent paper published in Biodiversity and Conservation (2001, 10:597-612) by Mones Abu-Asab, Paul Peterson, Stanwyn Shetler, and Sylvia Stone Orli of the Department of Systematic Biology Botany, the results of a 30-year study of flowering plant species common in the Washington, D.C. metro area indicates that the rise in the region's average minimum temperatures is producing earlier flowering in 89 of the 100 common plant species investigated. On average, flowering plants are blossoming 4.5 days earlier in 2000 than in 1970. The study suggests that the trend toward earlier blooming of flowering plants may be a result of global warming.
The scientists examined botanical data collected by more than 125 individuals over a 30-year period beginning in 1970 in order to reach their findings. Data was obtained at sites in Washington, D.C. and its vicinity (a 35-mile radius from the center of the district).
"This trend of earlier flowering is consistent with what we know about the effects of global warming," said Shetler. "When we compared the records from the Smithsonian study with local, long-term temperature records we discovered statistically significant correlations. The minimum temperature has been going up over these years and the early arrival of the cherry blossoms appears to be one of the results."
|Hepatica americana is now flowering 23 days earlier than in the 1970s.|
Analysis of the database infers that early blooming is not a phenomenon isolated to cherry blossoms. Among the 100 native and naturalized plant species analyzed by the researchers, 89 have shown a consistent trend of flowering earlier and earlier each year. The species with the greatest advance in flowering time, Duchesnea indica (false strawberry), blooms on average 46 days earlier. Eleven species in the study show a reverse trend by blooming later, including Lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle), which blooms on average 10.4 days later.
The consequences could be significant, as Shetler explained, "Based on this study, we can expect a gradually expanding growing season, which may be lengthened at both ends if the warmer temperatures prolong the end of summer as well. Over a long period the species composition of our local flora could change. Species like the sugar maple that require a long cold period may die out in our region. Invasive alien species, especially from more southern climes, may become more and more of a problem. Weedy species that can bloom throughout relatively mild winters could spread. If these trends continue, persons with allergy problems will experience them earlier because some of the first plants to bloom are wind-pollinated trees, such as the American elm and common alder."
The Smithsonian botanists will continue to study the flowering patterns of local plant species in order to contribute to the general understanding of the effects of global warming. Shetler and Orli are the authors of the "Annotated Checklist of the Vascular Plants of the Washington-Baltimore Area," an inventory of the vascular flora in the Washington, D.C. area. A website for the DC Flora <http://www.nmnh.si.edu/botany/projects/dcflora> is maintained where the database can be searched.
The Journal for Nature Conservation succeeds the Zeitschrift für Ökologie und Naturschutz, published by Urban & Fischer Journals. After 10 years of publication in German the journal is now published in English to address a wider and more international audience. The Journal for Nature Conservation <http://www.urbanfischer.de/journals/jnc/> is a scientific journal focusing on methods and techniques used in nature conservation. This international and interdisciplinary journal offers a forum for the communication of modern approaches to nature conservation. It aims to provide both scientists and practitioners in conservation theory, policy and management with comprehensive and applicable information. In particular, the journal wants to encourage the communication between scientists and practitioners, and thereby explore new research avenues that integrate biodiversity issues with socio-economic concepts. Review and research papers as well as short communications are welcome from a wide range of disciplines, such as landscape ecology, restoration ecology, theoretical ecology, ecological modeling, ecological economics, conservation biology, wildlife management, environmental planning, policy making, and environmental education. For more information contact Editorial Office, Journal for Nature Conservation, Coastal Resources Centre, Presentation Building, University College, Cork, Ireland; Tel: +353-21-4904129; Fax: +353-21-4904289; E-mail: email@example.com.
A Graduate Student Research Assistantship funded by the USDA National Research Initiative is available for a PhD student interested in phylogenetic biology. The Assistantship will provide training in the theory and methods of taxonomy and molecular phylogenetics, including model-based approaches to DNA character analysis. The specific research will involve the construction of a worldwide species phylogeny and database of the bumble bees (Bombus). The student will work with Drs. Sydney Cameron at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Paul Williams at the Natural History Museum in London. Collecting trips are scheduled for N. India/Nepal and specific regions of the Alps. Applicants with a strong interest in the breadth of systematics are encouraged to apply. This is a research training grant to do systematics in the strict sense, but does not exclude those with interests in behavioral evolution and biodiversity. Preference will be given to students interested in working on the systematics and behavior of bees, particularly bumble bees. Applicants with background experience in systematics, genetics, computer applications, biodiversity and conservation are encouraged to apply. For full consideration applications must be received by 15 September 2001. The University of Illinois is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer. Please send letter of interest and CV to Dr. Sydney Cameron, Dept. of Entomology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 505 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Research entomologist Ted Schultz from the Smithsonian Institution maintains the Ant Database <http://entomology.si.edu:591/entomology/siants/search.html>. This online database represents the Smithsonian's identified ant collection, including 4,580 valid named species or subspecies. The taxonomy is current with Bolton's 1995 catalog and includes reported holdings through June 1998. The database may be queried by Subfamily, Tribe, Genus, Subgenus, Species, Subspecies, Author, or Types, and typical returns give concise taxonomic information, total specimens (workers, females, and males), author, and year.
- from The Scout Report for Science & Engineering,
Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2001.
The website Sea Anemones of the World <http://biocomplexity.nhm.ukans.edu/anemones/images/index.html> is comprised of an electronic catalog of species (of Actiniaria, Corallimorpharia, and Ptychodactiaria), a bibliography of literature in which those species were described, and an inventory of type specimens for more than 1,300 species of Sea Anemones. Distribution maps and images are also available for most type specimens. Led by Dr. Daphne Fautin of the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of Kansas, this impressive initiative targets researchers in particular, but is an excellent resource for educators and students as well. The site is searchable by Genus, Species, Museum, Author, Year, or Distribution; typical returns lead the viewer to concise information on the species' original description, the type specimen's locality and museum, and one to several images of the species (color images, black-and-white illustrations, and more).
- from The Scout Report
The commercial site TreeGuide: The Natural History of Trees <http://www.treeguide.com/> offers news, features, and information about trees, with an emphasis on North American trees (including natives, naturalized, and ornamental). Designed for the general public, the site includes many curiosities, adding interest to every topic and making this a great resource for undergraduates. The content of the site includes full taxonomic information, current news, and partially-completed information on regional trees, tree biology, and "superlative" trees. At present, about 150 of 1,000 trees are described in the database, with completion of the database "anticipated by the second quarter of 2001."
- from The Scout Report
Based at the University of Montana and directed by Dr. Peter Rice, the INVADERS Database System <http://invader.dbs.umt.edu/> is "a comprehensive database of exotic plant names and weed distribution records for five states in the northwestern United States." Designed for use by land management and weed regulatory agencies, INVADERS uses a query interface (plant name or location) to sort and display information. Data are updated regularly so as to increase the chance of detecting and halting the rapid spread of alien weeds. Highlights of the site include the noxious weed listings for all US states and six Canadian provinces, historic distribution records against which to compare current plant distributions, and summary statistics such as the number of invasive species detected per state or a summary of the 120 year invasion, among others. The INVADERS database will prove both interesting and useful to managers and academics, alike.
- from The Scout Report
A partnership of Environment Canada (Canadian Wildlife Service) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Wild Species 2000 website <http://www.wildspecies.ca/en/home_E.html> displays a recent report on the status of Canada's wild species. Combining results from Provincial, Territorial, and Federal monitoring efforts for the first time, the report represents a substantial contribution to understanding the general status of species in Canada. The report provides a contextual introduction to biological diversity, describes data and methods, and gives general status assessments for ferns, orchids, butterflies, freshwater fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals (terrestrial and marine). Subsequent reports are planned, with anticipation of expanded information so as to report on additional taxa.
- from The Scout Report
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Elliott, G.P., Merton, D.V., and Jansen, P.W. 2001. Intensive management of a critically endangered species: the kakapo. Biol. Conserv. 99(1):121-133.
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Fearnside, P.M. 2001. Soybean cultivation as a threat to the environment in Brazil. Environ. Conserv. 28(1):23-38.
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Granstrom, A. 2001. Fire management for biodiversity in the European boreal forest. Scand. J. Forest Res. 16(S3):62-69.
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McKinney, M.L. 2001. Role of human population size in raising bird and mammal threat among nations. Anim. Conserv. 4:45-57.
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Moyle, P.B., and Davis, L.H. 2000. A list of freshwater, anadromous, and euryhaline fishes of California. Calif. Fish Game 86(4):244-258.
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Niemela, J. 2001. The utility of movement corridors in forested landscapes. Scand. J. Forest Res. 16(S3):70-78.
Niemela, J., Larsson, S., and Simberloff, D. 2001. Concluding remarks - finding ways to integrate timber production and biodiversity in Fennoscandian forestry. Scand. J. Forest Res. 16(S3):119-123.
Nilsson, S.G., Hedin, J., and Niklasson, M. 2001. Biodiversity and its assessment in boreal and nemoral forests. Scand. J. Forest Res. 16(S3):10-26.
Nor, S.M. 2001. Elevational diversity patterns of small mammals on Mount Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. Global Ecol. Biogeogr. 10(1):41-62.
Nugent, G., Fraser, W., and Sweetapple, P. 2001. Top down or bottom up? Comparing the impacts of introduced arboreal possums and 'terrestrial' ruminants on native forests in New Zealand. Biol. Conserv. 99(1):65-79.
Oldfield, S. 2001. Rediscovering and conserving endangered trees. Oryx 35(2):170-171.
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