The rich colors of the autumn leaves in this photograph (taken on campus) reminded me of an article by the National Science Foundation Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network series: “The Colors of Fall: Are Autumn Reds and Golds Passing Us By?”
Several changes are afoot. Chestnut blight (a plant disease) has wiped out the majestic chestnut trees, which used to blanket forests with bright yellows and golds in the autumn. Hemlocks are threatened by the woolly adelgid, an invasive insect. Drought and land use are also changing the forest landscape, exacerbated by a changing climate.
There really isn’t any good news here, but it’s important. These crises (plural) need our attention > Read full NSF article
Here’s a related article about current genetics and breeding research on chestnuts > APSnet article
Spring 2014: Molds, Mushroom and Mankind (PLNTPTH 2000) General Education course for non-science majors, Natural Science > Biological Science, w/o lab > More info