What We’re Reading- July 22, 2016

Summer is for Catching Lightning Bugs
A new paper (sub) measured the color of light which lightning bugs (aka fireflies; genus Lampyridae) emit as the day gets darker.  They found that males flash more yellow light earlier in the day and more green light as it gets darker.  Their data supported two hypotheses, that the yellow light helps the insects stand out against ambient light, while the green light reflects off of green foliage; thus in both ways the display is amplified at different times of the evening.

Summer is for Building a Fort Under Large Old Trees
You may have memories of summers spent in the shade of large old trees, but this comprehensive review (sub) starts by defining a small subset of species (i.e. Redwoods or Manna Gum) as large enough or long-lived enough to be considered a tree giant. They then discuss the diversity of ecosystem services that these trees provide even when compared to younger individuals of the same species in the same habitat, including unique microhabits in the bark or hollowed cavities.  But we focused on the conservation of these trees.  Large old trees don’t happen without time (about 500-8,000 years), thus they need dedicated protection from development and long-term conservation planning to protect young individuals over many human generations.

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