Flipping the “genetic paradox of invasions”

The green crab, Carcinus maenas, is considered a globally distributed invasive species, an organism introduced by humans that eventually becomes overpopulated, with increased potential to negatively alter its new environment. Traditionally, it’s been assumed that successful populations contain high genetic diversity, or a variety of characteristics allowing them to adapt and thrive. On the contrary, the green crab – like many successful invasive populations – has low genetic diversity, while still spreading rapidly in a new part of the world.

Corals Carefully Organize Proteins to Form Rock-Hard Skeletons

Charles Darwin, the British naturalist who championed the theory of evolution, noted that corals form far-reaching structures, largely made of limestone, that surround tropical islands. He didn’t know how they performed this feat. Now, Rutgers scientists have shown that coral structures consist of a biomineral containing a highly organized organic mix of proteins that resembles what is in our bones. Their study, published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, shows for the first time that several proteins are organized spatially – a process that’s critical to forming a rock-hard coral skeleton.

“Ghost Forests” Expanding Along Northeast U.S. Coast

Why are “ghost forests” filled with dead trees expanding along the mid-Atlantic and southern New England coast? Higher groundwater levels linked to sea-level rise and increased flooding from storm surges and very high tides are likely the most important factors, according to a Rutgers study on the impacts of climate change that suggests how to enhance land-use planning.

How to Identify Heat-Stressed Corals

Researchers have found a novel way to identify heat-stressed corals, which could help scientists pinpoint the coral species that need protection from warming ocean waters linked to climate change, according to a Rutgers-led study.

Rutgers Experts Can Discuss Invasive Spotted Lanternfly Spread in N.J.

New Brunswick, N.J. (Oct. 1, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor George C. Hamilton and Associate Professor Anne L. Nielsen can discuss the spread of and threat posed by the invasive spotted lanternfly, a destructive pest, in New Jersey. “Their…

Indigenous People Vital for Understanding Environmental Change

Grassroots knowledge from indigenous people can help to map and monitor ecological changes and improve scientific studies, according to Rutgers-led research. The study, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, shows the importance of indigenous and local knowledge for monitoring ecosystem changes and managing ecosystems. The team collected more than 300 indicators developed by indigenous people to monitor ecosystem change, and most revealed negative trends, such as increased invasive species or changes in the health of wild animals. Such local knowledge influences decisions about where and how to hunt, benefits ecosystem management and is important for scientific monitoring at a global scale.

Where Did the Asian Longhorned Ticks in the U.S. Come From?

The invasive population of Asian longhorned ticks in the United States likely began with three or more self-cloning females from northeastern Asia, according to a Rutgers-led study. Asian longhorned ticks outside the U.S. can carry debilitating diseases. In the United States and elsewhere they can threaten livestock and pets. The new study, published in the journal Zoonoses and Public Health, sheds new light on the origin of these exotic ticks and how they are spreading across the United States.

Rutgers Expert Can Discuss Invasive Plants in N.J. and Alternatives

New Brunswick, N.J. (June 10, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Michele Bakacs is available for interviews on invasive exotic plants in New Jersey that are growing out of control, overrunning forests and other natural areas. She can discuss why this…

Rutgers Experts Available to Discuss Invasive Asian Giant Hornet

New Brunswick, N.J. (May 6, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick experts are available for interviews on inquiries about the invasive Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia). While media reports have triggered concern over the large pest, there are no reports of…