News: Ecology & the Environment

Warfare and wildlife declines in Africa’s protected areas
Jan. 22, 2018

Frequent armed warfare in many of Africa’s nature reserves has contributed to the decline of some of the continent’s iconic beasts. To understand the overall effect of warfare on wildlife, Joshua Daskin and Robert Pringle at Princeton University analysed data collected between 1946 and 2010 on more than 250 populations of large herbivorous…

How orange peels revived a Costa Rican forest
Sept. 20, 2017

“This is one of the only instances I’ve ever heard of where you can have cost-negative carbon sequestration,” said Timothy Treuer, co-lead author of the study and a graduate student in Princeton’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

‘A Bee, a Tree, What’s In It For Me?’ Class examines environmental policy
May 22, 2017

In the spring course 'The Environment: Science and Policy,' Oppenheimer teamed up with ecology expert David Wilcove professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology…

Coverdale receives ESA Graduate Student Policy Award
April 3, 2017

Tyler Coverdale, a graduate student in Princeton University’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, was one of six graduate students nationwide to receive a Graduate Student Policy Award from The Ecological…

How temperature guides where species live and where they’ll go
Feb. 13, 2017

For decades, among the most enduring questions for ecologists have been: “Why do species live where they do? And what are the factors that keep them there?” A Princeton University-based study featured on the February cover of the journal…

Tree-bark thickness indicates fire-resistance in a hotter future
Jan. 11, 2017

A new study has found that trees worldwide develop thicker bark when they live in fire-prone areas. The findings suggest that bark thickness could help predict which forests and savannas will survive a warmer climate in which wildfires are expected to increase in frequency.

Get a feel for the Mpala Research Centre in Kenya
Oct. 20, 2016

For Princeton University faculty and students, the Mpala Research Centre, a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional field laboratory that sits on a 50,000-acre reserve and ranch in central Kenya, provides an expansive natural terrain ideal for large-scale field experiments in ecology, biology, geology and other fields. Students and other…

Mpala Research Centre is more than a research station
Oct. 20, 2016

NANYUKI, Kenya — Princeton University graduate student Tyler Coverdale and Ryan O’Connell of the Class of 2017 clap as they walk around the tall bushes surrounding the sprawling experiment site. Not in applause, or for self-motivation — but to alert any buffalo, elephants or other animals that might be foraging for food or seeking shade from…

Rebecca Neill '16 on her experience in EEB: a holistic approach to biology
June 1, 2016

Rebecca Neill ’16

The Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department appealed to me as a way to study pre-med biology while thinking about systems on a larger scale. At the end of my sophomore year, I knew I wanted to major in biology, and I was frustrated with the tendency of biology programs to focus on only molecular systems…

Theory of ‘smart’ plants may explain the evolution of global ecosystems
Dec. 1, 2015

It’s easy to think of plants as passive features of their environments, doing as the land prescribes, serving as a backdrop to the bustling animal kingdom.

But what if the ecosystems of the world take their various forms because plant “decisions” make them that way? A new theory…

Understanding animal coexistence with a little dung and a lot of DNA
Oct. 26, 2015

Africa’s abundant and iconic wildlife provides seemingly endless wonderment. For ecologists, that has extended to the persistent riddle of how the African savanna’s diverse population of herbivores — from elephants and zebras to impalas and buffalo — survive on what appears to be limited food sources: mostly grasses or mostly trees.

Animating science: Student videos explain ecological challenges
March 17, 2014

Students in Robert Pringle's undergraduate Ecology and Evolutionary Biology course had a chance to try conveying science to a broad audience in a way that is understandable, accurate and entertaining -- by creating animated short videos that focused on a wide variety of ecological challenges.

Video feature: Art of Science 2013 celebrates the ‘unpredictability of beauty’
July 29, 2013

The Art of Science 2013 exhibit in the Friend Center on the Princeton University campus consists of 43 images of artistic merit created during the course of scientific research. The works, part of a recurring show now in its sixth iteration, were chosen from 170…

Photosynthetic Neighborhoods
May 26, 2013

Leaves carry out photosynthesis in clusters of cells locally serviced by end-units of pipes that deliver water and take away sugar. The cells must be within diffusion distance of pores to exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen. Diffusion may set an upper limit on the size of an efficient cluster, and quasi-fractal branching of pipelines may set a…