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Soils, vegetation, fossil pollen and charcoal, disturbance history, early documents and maps, and insects were used to interpret past changes in the central Suffolk County, Long Island, New York pine barrens. Before Euro-American settlement pitch pine-oak-heath woodland, pitch pine-scrub oak barrens, and dwarf pine plains probably covered portions of the broad outwash plain south of the Ronkonkoma Moraine. These communities would have occurred on deep, coarse-textured, excessively drained, nutrient-impoverished, acidic, fire-prone sandy soils. Logging, land clearance, and repeated human-caused fires promoted the expansion of barrens vegetation through much of central Suffolk County during the 17th–19th centuries. Pitch pine became established on the disturbed loamy, sandy, and gravelly soils. Scrub oak sprouted profusely on these soils in response to repeated burning of the undergrowth. The seed for this expansion dispersed from trees and shrubs growing in adjacent oak-pitch pine and pitch pine-oak woodlands. With 20th century fire suppression, pine barrens reverted to oak-hardwood forests in northcentral Suffolk County and oak-pine and pine-oak forests in southcentral Suffolk County. Pine barrens persisted in sections of eastcentral and southcentral Suffolk County in response to periodic burning.
The Great Cypress Swamp Conservation Area (GCSCA) comprises the largest contiguous forest on the Delmarva Peninsula (>5000 ha). An avian inventory using a fifty-meter fixed-radius point count method was undertaken during the nesting seasons of 1996 through 1998 to determine species composition, relative abundance, and frequency of breeding forest birds. Seventy-three species were found to comprise the breeding-season avifauna of this natural area including 14 warblers. Seven of the ten most abundant species were neotropical migrants. The Worm-eating Warbler and the Brown-headed Cowbird were the most abundant and most frequently encountered species, respectively. Several birds of local conservation concern were found, including two regionally rare species: Swainson's Warbler and Black-throated Green Warbler. Two warblers previously known to breed here were not found during this survey: American Redstart and Northern Parula. Management of the GCSCA for forest birds should focus first on protection of extant populations and secondly on restoration. Comprehensive systematic inventories of large areas of contiguous forest should be considered a high priority for biologists concerned with the regional conservation of species of concern.
We discuss the distribution and native status of 24 minnow species (family: Cyprinidae) collected at 203 randomly selected lakes in the northeastern USA (New England, New York, New Jersey) by the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (EMAP). Twenty-four species were collected during the summers of 1991–96. Only golden shiner was frequently collected, occurring in 71% of the sampled lakes. Fallfish, creek chub, and common shiner were also common. The remaining species were taken in <10% of the lakes. Physical (surface area, depth, elevation), chemical (pH, total phosphorus), and watershed disturbance characteristics of the lakes show distinct species-specific patterns. Evidence suggests that native minnow biodiversity has declined over the last 150 years as a result of changing biotic, physical, chemical, and watershed characteristics.
Louis Agassiz (1807–1873), in addition to his work on paleoichthyology, had a substantial impact on geological thinking. He is the major figure in the development of Ice Age theory. One of his research areas was Maine. He was very influencial in higher education in Maine and New England, both in his ideas and through his students. This paper also discusses the work of researchers leading to Agassiz's development of a holistic view of an ice age.
We describe the aggressive defense of a territory by a male Common Nighthawk against a migrating flock of conspecifics in Boston, Massachusetts. This observation is compared with those of Rust (1947) to illustrate the dynamics of territorial behavior in the Common Nighthawk.
During a study of the effects of forest management on small-mammal populations in New Brunswick, Canada, we observed a single case of partial albinism in a red-backed vole, Clethrionomys gapperi. This report documents the observation and discusses the rarity of albino small mammals in the Maritimes.