While climate change gets most of the media attention these days for the dramatic effects it is predicted to have — and, in some cases, is already having — on coastal communities, it has yet to have serious effects on eastern forests.
A new book examining the complicated issue of cats and wildlife has re-opened a difficult discussion that has long pitted animal welfare organizations against biologists, birdwatchers and the environmental community. And the position taken by the authors is doing little to make that discussion any easier.
KINGSTON, R.I. — Winter moths should be fluttering around porch lights and car headlights any day now, laying eggs that may lead to another spring of defoliated and dying trees.
BLOCK ISLAND, R.I. — During the peak of this year’s fall raptor migration season, scientists from the Biodiversity Research Institute in Maine completed a five-year effort to monitor the movement of falcons on offshore islands along the East Coast. Much of their effort was focused on Block Island, which the researchers say is among the most important stop-over sites for migrating falcons.
TIVERTON, R.I. — The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management recently began work on an improvement project at the Sapowet Marsh Wildlife Management Area. The project, slated for completion in spring 2017, supports efforts to restore a degraded coastal habitat and strengthen the state’s resilience against climate change, according to state officials.
Early results from the first year of an effort to document the status of breeding birds in Rhode Island have shown what many birdwatchers expected: some species have disappeared from the state since a similar survey was conducted in the 1980s, while others have moved into the area for the first time.
One of Rhode Island’s rarest turtle, the diamondback terrapin, has been discovered in new locations in recent years, and those monitoring the animals say the species is holding its own in the state and may even be increasing in number.
When a tropical fish called a crevalle jack turned up this summer in the Narragansett Bay trawl survey, which the University of Rhode Island conducts weekly, it was the first time the species was detected in the more than 50 years that the survey has taken place.
PROVIDENCE — Black swallow-wort grows in dense patches in sun and partial shade. It climbs up, outcompetes and replaces other plants, weakening local ecosystems. Monarch butterflies, which lay their eggs only on milkweed plants, are tricked into laying their eggs on swallow-wort, a close relative of milkweed. None of the larvae hatched on this plant survive.
JAMESTOWN, R.I. — Many people throughout Rhode Island and southern New England have reported unusually large numbers of jellyfish in recent years. And while this year isn’t turning out to be a big year for jellyfish in Narragansett Bay, some scientists claim that the warming of the oceans may be creating conditions that benefit jellyfish.
PROVIDENCE — Caroline Karp, professor of environmental studies at Brown University, has been hoping to tap the potential for widespread data collection and find a way to use citizen scientists to keep tabs on Rhode Island's jellyfish populations.
KINGSTON, R.I. — It’s the peak of shark fishing season, when hundreds of fishermen enter tournaments throughout southern New England and Long Island to catch the biggest shark. It has Bradley Wetherbee worried.
Saltmarsh sparrows are the only species of breeding bird found nowhere else but the East Coast of the United States, where they live exclusively in coastal marshes, including several sites in Rhode Island. But the birds are predicted to go extinct within the next 50 years.
Massachusetts residents of Mattapoisett, Marion and Fairhaven may not be thinking about forests and wetlands when they pour a glass of water from their kitchen tap. However, most of the work to keep their drinking water clean and healthy is done by the natural forests and wetlands of the Mattapoisett River Valley.