Does this recent extreme cold snap spell bad news for mosquitoes and ticks this summer? Not necessarily. Researchers at Tyson Research Center, the environmental field station for Washington University in St. Louis, offer insight into how both insects are surviving the Polar Vortex that has gripped most of the Midwest and eastern United States.
Owen J. Sexton, professor emeritus of biology in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, died May 31 at his home in St. Louis County from complications of dementia, which he had battled for years. He was 91. Sexton was a key advocate for the purchase of the 2,000-acre Tyson Research Center property in 1963.
A new study in Parasites & Vectors finds ticks in urban parks dominated by an invasive rose bush are nearly twice as likely to be infected with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, as compared to ticks from uninvaded forest fragments. But the trend reverses itself at a broader scale.
Victims of chronic flooding, dozens of homes in Baden neighborhood will be demolished this summer. But a team of Washington University in St. Louis researchers, together with the City of St. Louis, the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Missouri Department of Conservation, are determined to help the community create something better in the neighborhood.
The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus) was spotted in Houston in 1985 but can now be found in all of the southern states and as far north as Maine. To reconstruct its spread, scientists turned to the new discipline of landscape genetics. Correlating genetic patterns with landscape patterns, they concluded that the mosquito had hitched a ride along highways. One of only a handful of landscape genetics studies to track an invasive species, this is the first to detect hitchhiking.
This spring and summer, Washington University in St. Louis is adding 379 kilowatts of solar energy throughout all campuses, a move that will increase its solar output by more than 1,150 percent over previous levels. (Pictured) Tyson Research Center now has a 50-kW ground-mounted array.
Visiting scientist Stephen Blake has traveled the world trying to protect endangered species, including forest elephants and giant tortoises. Lately he and his wife veterinarian Sharon Deem have put increasing emphasis on trying to restore another endangered species: kids who care about nature. They’ve started the St. Louis Box Turtle Project as a kid-friendly way to re-introduce kids to the woods.
SIFT (Shaw Institute for Field Training) and TERF (Tyson Environmental Research Fellowships) — a collaboration between WUSTL’s Tyson Research Center and the Missouri Botanical Gardens’ Shaw Nature Reserve — gives high school students authentic engagement in environmental research and prepares them for careers in biology and other sciences.
How strong are the links in food webs? An experiment at Washington University in St. Louis demonstrates that they’re strong enough for a disturbance to propagate across four trophic levels and two ecosystems. The experiment demonstrates that invasive species such as purple loosestrife could have broad effects on surrounding plant and animal communities, many of them cryptic.
Sixteen St. Louis youth will be in Forest Park on June 13 tracking box turtles, fitted with telemetry devices — all to help with a project aimed at studying box turtle movements and their health. The 12- and 13-year-olds are participating in a pilot study designed by scientists from the Saint Louis Zoo and Washington University in St. Louis to document box turtle movements and their health status in urban and rural areas in and around St. Louis.