ecology


On July 16, 2012, one of several signs posted along Lake Mendota near the Memorial Union Terrace at the University of Wisconsin-Madison warn against swimming during the presence of toxic blue-green algae in the water. Known as cyanobacteria, the algae are photosynthetic bacteria that live in colonies, typically in lakes with excess fertility. (Photo by Jeff Miller/UW-Madison)
On June 7, the summer’s first blue-green algae bloom turned much of Lake Mendota a thick, putrid green color. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Center for Limnology concluded that several factors — including run-off from local farms, multiple days with hot temperatures, and low winds — created near-perfect conditions […]

Zebra mussels in Lake Mendota: the new kid in town






A glade with the regional endemic wildflower Ozark coneflower (Echinacea paradoxa) in bloom, with a gum Bumelia tree in the background. Native wildflowers such as this coneflower are threatened by woody encroachment of glades.
The following is a guest post from Jesse Miller, a former graduate student at UW–Madison in the lab of Ellen Damschen and a current postdoctoral researcher at the University of California-Davis. He summarizes a paper he and his research team recently co-authored in the journal Landscape Ecology: Grasslands are home to […]

Fire may help Ozarks grasslands


According to a recently published study, invasive quagga mussels in Lake Michigan, paired with decreasing nutrient availability, could explain an observed decline in food chain productivity in Lake Michigan. Currently, Lake Michigan is in the midst of a decade-long decline in food chain productivity, or the lake’s ability to produce […]

Going hungry in Lake Michigan




Perhaps you’ve noticed: It’s spring and the Plants Are Blooming. Maybe it’s the smell of the lilacs, or the buzzing of bees. Or perhaps it’s the lush greens and bursts of color blurring your field of vision. But have you ever wondered how the landscape transitions from the brown drab of […]

Why flowers need winter


A rusty-patched bumblebee on Culver’s root in the UW–Madison Arboretum. The Arboretum’s insecticide-free prairies, woodlands and gardens are a paradise for the rusty-patched and at least a dozen other bumblebee species. PHOTO: SUSAN DAY/UW-MADISON ARBORETUM
This winter may now feel a shade lonelier for a handful of bumble bee princesses tucked away underground in the University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum, but they will probably wake up in the spring to a larger group of human admirers. This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared rusty-patched […]

Happy in the Arb, endangered in the world