Discoveries Archive

  • Long-Distance Delivery thumbnail

    Long-Distance Delivery

    by Todd McLeish | Autumn 2016
    In the world of trees, it is difficult for seeds and seedlings to take root far from their parent plants, yet that’s a key factor…

  • Leaf Litter Stunner thumbnail

    Leaf Litter Stunner

    by Todd McLeish | Summer 2016
    A team of researchers has been studying the effects of adding extra leaf litter and other organic matter to the soil in Harvard Forest for…

  • Deer in the Diet thumbnail

    Deer in the Diet

    by Todd McLeish | Summer 2016
    Coyotes have become ubiquitous in the Northeast since they began colonizing the region in the 1920s. The conventional wisdom has been that coyotes are specialists…

  • Spruce Scrubbers thumbnail

    Spruce Scrubbers

    by Todd McLeish | Summer 2016
    Trapping carbon dioxide before it exits power plants, vehicle exhaust pipes, and industrial smokestacks is believed by many experts to be a key step in…

  • Contamination Revelation thumbnail

    Contamination Revelation

    by Todd McLeish | Spring 2016
    Abandoned industrial sites litter the world, and many are contaminated with pollutants that make it difficult to redevelop the land. Yet some species of trees…

  • The Rust of the Story thumbnail

    The Rust of the Story

    by Todd McLeish | Spring 2016
    Rusty blackbird populations have declined by about 95 percent in the last 50 years, making their decline the fastest of any songbird in all of…

  • Knocking Down Nitrogen thumbnail

    Knocking Down Nitrogen

    by Todd McLeish | Spring 2016
    Beavers have long been admired for their dam-building skills, which enable them to create ponds and slow the movement of water. Recently, a team of…

  • Saved by the Silver Fly? thumbnail

    Saved by the Silver Fly?

    by Todd McLeish | Winter 2015
    The hemlock woolly adelgid remains near the top of the list of harmful pest insects in eastern forests. It has significantly damaged the hemlocks in…

  • Teeter-Totter Travel thumbnail

    Teeter-Totter Travel

    by Todd McLeish | Winter 2015
    Birdwatchers in the Northeast have long known that some species of finch that spend most of their lives in the boreal forest occasionally travel far…

  • Technology Tells the Tale thumbnail

    Technology Tells the Tale

    by Todd McLeish | Autumn 2015
    For decades it was hypothesized that blackpoll warblers, tiny black-and-white songbirds that breed in boreal forests and winter in South America, migrate south entirely offshore…

  • Chemicals That Bees Need thumbnail

    Chemicals That Bees Need

    by Todd McLeish | Autumn 2015
    We hear a great deal in the news about the decline of managed honeybee colonies, but little has been reported about the crisis facing native…

  • Extra Genes = Killer Fungus thumbnail

    Extra Genes = Killer Fungus

    by Todd McLeish | Autumn 2015
    A scientific investigation into the genetics of 20 fungi that infect trees has turned up an unusual explanation for why one particular fungus is killing…

  • Pathways to the Ponds thumbnail

    Pathways to the Ponds

    by Todd McLeish | Summer 2015
    Beavers are well known for damming streams and creating ponds, forging new habitat for a wide range of wildlife. In the absence of streams, however,…

  • Hearts of Darkness thumbnail

    Hearts of Darkness

    by Todd McLeish | Summer 2015
    The wood of sugar maple trees is highly valued for its even grain and creamy light color, making it one of the Northeast’s most commercially…

  • Grain Gene Fights Fungus thumbnail

    Grain Gene Fights Fungus

    by Todd McLeish | Summer 2015
    The American chestnut may be on the verge of a comeback. More than 125 years after Asian chestnuts arrived in the United States carrying a…

  • Forest Fish Food thumbnail

    Forest Fish Food

    by Todd McLeish | Spring 2015
    We don’t typically think of forest debris as a food source for freshwater fish and other aquatic organisms, but a study by researchers at the…

  • Peeper Keeper thumbnail

    Peeper Keeper

    by Todd McLeish | Spring 2015
    For nearly 20 years, Gary Lovett has kept a journal with notes about a variety of natural events taking place in his backyard in southeastern…

  • Sugar and Seeds thumbnail

    Sugar and Seeds

    by Todd McLeish | Spring 2015
    Maple syrup producers no longer have to wait for spring weather to know if they are likely to have a good year. A postdoctoral researcher…

  • Fur-Bearings thumbnail


    by Todd McLeish | Winter 2014
    Detecting small mammal prey beneath a thick covering of snow is among the more challenging skills that some predators must develop to survive New England…

  • Go Jump in a Lake thumbnail

    Go Jump in a Lake

    by Todd McLeish | Winter 2014
    The Clean Air Act, passed more than 40 years ago, continues to provide positive outcomes. The latest good news comes from a University of New…