Reporter Bruce Henderson has a story that, as a type, is common enough. North Carolina is warming up. Birds and other wildlife are shifting their ranges. (Link goes to sister paper, the Raleigh News & Observer). OK, that's important but it's been reported, in general, many times. Also not unusual is to find a naturalist quoted on fear that surprises are in store, nobody knows what. But what is gratifying at that point is that writer Henderson provides a terrific, short example of one such surprise recently, one having to do with temperatures, nitrogen fallout, Mount Mitchell, and beetles that nobody did or probably even could have foreseen. One presumes Henderson could provide documentation for the individual parts of his summary. One hopes so, for the tale is an arresting and revealing one (a quick check finds that his example got some ink back in the 90s, little since then, and I put documentation of the event in Grist).
Grist for the Mill: US Forest Service Nitrogen deposition and water stress... ;
Other, slightly related news: Some complex ecosystem switcheroos might be predictable. So say researchers who saw a Wisconsin Lake reconfigure its food web and believe it left a lesson. There is no generalized balance of Nature. Some systems are just examples from among many stable possiblities for a given place. And before they jump from one island of stability to another, there are signs. The paper was in last Friday's Science.
- BBC - Richard Black: Boom and bust signals ecosystem collapse ;
- ScienceNOW - Jennifer Carpenter: An Early Warning Sign for Ecosystem Collapse? ;
Grist for the Mill:
- Charlie Petit