Wednesday, October 19, 2011

So many interesting papers: Stream fragmentation and the end of NABS.

  • I think I mentioned before, but the North American Benthological Society elected to change its name during the last annual meeting (last Spring).  I don't think changing the name was a horrible idea by any means (the "North American" part is semi-ridiculous and "Benthological" doesn't cover everything the society/journal covers), but it feels really weird to think of NABS as now being SFS (Society of Freshwater Science).  Anyway, this is the last issue of JNABS you will ever see published.  From now on, the journal is Freshwater Science.  Considering there are already journals out there going by the name Freshwater Biology and Freshwater Ecology and Aquatic Sciences and Aquatic Ecology (all of which are comparable or not as good as JNABS), I feel like Freshwater Science now is part of a group as opposed to standing out.  At any rate, I can't imagine this will affect the quality and appeal of the articles published, which is a good thing because....
  • ...JNABS always seems to have articles I'm really interested in.  Just published is a whole special issue on fragmentation in low-order streams (link goes to the intro).  I'm really glad I know longer have to keep a lengthy file on stream obstruction literature just to argue with watershed districts wanting to build dams, but I'm still interested in how connectivity affects ecosystem function.  As far as I know, hardly anyone has looked at that.  Most studies, like these, are focused on simply establishing community composition changes as a result of impoundments.  That's definitely useful, and you can extend that into functional changes in ecosystems, but not directly as far as I know.
  • Burning to prevent tree invasion is pratically gospel in many parts of the central U.S.  I'm not entirely sure why, except that alternative methods of preventing tree invasion seem more difficult and costly (and usually it probably is).  However, this paper in Eco Apps suggests just removing the trees is sometimes sufficient. 
  • Again, the papers I'm mentioning in these bullet-posts look interesting, and I've read the abstracts.  In some cases I've even read the whole paper before posting here.  However, I'm not really evaluating the significance of these papers to the literature or the appropriateness of the methods.  In this case this is particularly true.  This seems really, really cool.  I just don't quite know what it means.
  • Linguistics is pretty cool.  I hardly ever read anything about the topic, but every time I do I find it fascinating.  Like this about word order and the first language of humans.
  • I think my contract (ha!) says I have to point out anything I see that involves spade-foot toads.  In this study, the authors show that the rapidity with which an individual undergoes metamorphosis doesn't really seem to affect the age at which they reach maturity.

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