By Alister Doyle –  Reuters –  August 19, 2015

Many of the world's plants are turning "alien", spread by people into new areas where they choke out native vegetation in a worsening trend that causes billions of dollars in damage, scientists said on Wednesday. The invaders include water hyacinth from the Amazon, which has spread to about 50 nations where it crowds out local plants, while Japanese knotweed has fast-growing roots that have destabilized buildings in North America and Europe. Citing a new global database, an international team of scientists wrote in the journal Nature that 13,168 plant species - 3.9 percent of the global total - "have become naturalized somewhere on the globe as a result of human activity". For full story, click here.

Contact: Jim Erickson –  Micigan News –  August 14, 2015 –  Video

The diesel-powered harvester roars as ecologist Shane Lishawa crashes through dense, 7-foot-tall cattails toward an experimental plot established in the marsh in 2011. "It's now four years later, and we still have a persistently more diverse community," said Lishawa, pointing to various native grasses, sedges and rushes that have sprung up in the test plot still dominated by an invasive hybrid cattail. For full story and to view video, click here.

By Brooks Hays –  UPI - United Press International  –  August 11, 2015

Researchers have found a newly identified parasitic disease in tadpoles -- one that could threaten global frog populations. The unnamed disease is caused by a parasitic protist, a single-celled microorganism, which invades tadpole livers. Scientists at the University of Exeter recently tested tadpoles from six countries across three continents, and found the protists present in a variety of species. For full story, click here.

By Robert Gebelhoff –  The Washington Post  –  August 11, 2015

Twenty-five years ago, Robert Cowie would climb atop the mountains of Oahu, Hawaii, and find one or two specimens of a brightly colored snail squirming around. As a bioscience researcher at the University of Hawaii, Cowie would note the animal, one of many snail species that were identified as endangered on the island. But it’s been a long time since anyone has seen the snail, and researchers believe that’s probably because it’s gone extinct — along with many of its other sibling snails. For full story, click here.

By Wendee Nicole – Environmental Health Perspectives – August 2015

The world has been abuzz with the dramatic losses of cultivated honey bees due to colony collapse disorder as well as declines of native pollinator species across the globe. Scientists have recently begun calculating the extent to which food crops depend on animal pollinators including bees, butterflies, and bats, with one study assigning an economic value to the “ecosystem service” provided by pollinators at approximately $167 billion.6 Even more recently, several other new studies have offered evidence that pollinators may also have a beneficial impact on nutrition security—the availability of essential macro- and micronutrients in the human diet. For full article, click here.

Chesapeake Bay Program –  July 30, 2015

Between 2013 and 2014, underwater grass abundance in the Chesapeake Bay rose 27 percent, marking a 27,600-acre increase from the last decade’s low and an achievement of 41 percent of our 185,000-acre goal. Scientists attribute this boost in bay grasses to the rapid expansion of widgeongrass in moderately salty waters, even in areas where vegetation has not been observed before. Scientists have also observed a modest recovery of eelgrass in very salty waters, where the hot summers of 2005 and 2010 led to dramatic diebacks. For full blog post, click here.

By Carl Zimmer –  The New York Times –  July 30, 2015

We humans can drive species toward extinction by hunting them or destroying their habitat. But we can also threaten them in a more subtle but no less dangerous way: by making them sick. In the early 1900s, humans introduced malaria-spreading mosquitoes to Hawaii, and many native bird species were decimated. More recently, a fungus introduced to the United States from Europe has proved lethal to several species of bats. Now, scientists and wildlife managers are struggling to prevent the next infectious disaster. A recently discovered fungus is killing salamanders in Europe. It is likely spread by the pet trade and could soon arrive in North America, home to about half of all salamander species. For full story, click here.