If you aren’t already familiar with Ecology for the Masses, it’s a new blog on which my friend Adam Hasik from the University of Arkansas and I break down new ecological papers into a widely accessible format, so that the non-scientific public can stay up to date with new research. Here’s our round-up for September.

We had a busy September on Ecology for the Masses, and topics ranged from everything from sociality in spiders to the impact of climate change on species abundance. We also looked at the role of snakes on seed dispersal, a paper which used Museum samples. This is an interesting concept, as the role that Museums play in helping scientific research can often be seen as somewhat esoteric. But they provide us with a wealth of ecological history which can give us valuable information about shifting ecosystems and biodiversity.

Speaking of biodiversity, it’s something of a calling cry of scientists today, but its meaning is somewhat obscure, and how we define it can make a huge difference in how we implement management policy. We looked at two definitions in this breakdown, and how the function of an ecosystem can be influenced by different levels of both types of biodiversity.

Forests such as Białowieska in Poland perform a wide range of functions, but if its biodiversity rises, how will this change?
Forests such as Białowieska in Poland perform a wide range of functions, but if its biodiversity rises, how will this change? (Image Credit: Jacek Karczmarz, CC A 3.0)

We also had our first guest post, by my colleague Bart Peeters, who looked at an island on which both cats and rats pose problems to a local bird species. The article Bart covered looks at the complex interactions between different types of predators, and why it’s important to understand how a food web works before simply going in and writing out a pest.

We hit 1,000 views last week. Thanks to everyone for reading, we’ll be back on Thursday with a post by Adam on species richness in the tropics.