Grassland News -- ScienceDaily Grassland biome. Read all the latest scientific research on the grassland biome, including articles on grassland animals and the effect of global warming on the grasslands.

  • Promising peas' potential in big sky country
    on June 14, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Changing over from all wheat to wheat-pea rotations can be uncertain. To help, researchers have been studying how pea genetics interact with the environment to affect crop yields, pea protein and starch content for market demands. […]

  • Camelina: Where you grow what you grow
    on May 24, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    A new study looks at how three varieties of camelina perform when grown in two different regions within the Great Plains. The end goal is to find the camelina variety that performs best in each location or environment -- beyond the genetics involved. […]

  • Why did hunter-gatherers first begin farming?
    on May 16, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    The beginnings of agriculture changed human history and has fascinated scientists for centuries. Researchers have now shed light on how hunter-gatherers first began farming and how crops were domesticated to depend on humans. […]

  • Rising temperatures threaten stability of Tibetan alpine grasslands
    on May 10, 2017 at 11:55 am

    A warming climate could affect the stability of alpine grasslands in Asia's Tibetan Plateau, threatening the ability of farmers and herders to maintain the animals that are key to their existence, and potentially upsetting the ecology of an area in which important regional river systems originate, says a new study. […]

  • Grasslands' carbon storage value now quantified
    on April 19, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Grasslands that feature diverse plant species have more carbon storage capacity than less-diverse grasslands, largely because the former produce more biomass, the researchers say. They found that increasing the number of plant species from one to 10 had twice the value of increasing from one to two species, from the standpoint of carbon storage capacity. […]

  • Making cows more environmentally friendly
    on March 29, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    An important discovery surrounding plants used to feed livestock has been released by scientists. They report that plants growing in warmer conditions are tougher and have lower nutritional value to grazing livestock, potentially inhibiting milk and meat yields and raising the amount of methane released by the animals. […]

  • Spiders eat astronomical numbers of insects
    on March 14, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    A new study reveals some stunning estimates about how much the world's spiders eat annually: between 400 and 800 million tons of insects and other invertebrates. These eight-legged carnivores play an important role to keep countless insect pests in check. […]

  • US grasslands affected more by atmospheric dryness than precipitation
    on March 7, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    According to 33 years of remote sensing data, productivity of US grasslands is more sensitive to dryness of the atmosphere than precipitation, important information for understanding how ecosystems will respond to climate change. […]

  • Why nature restoration takes time
    on February 8, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    'Relationships' in the soil become stronger during nature restoration. Although all major groups of soil life are already present in former agricultural soils, they are not really 'connected'. These connections need time to (literally) grow, and fungi are the star performers. A European research team has shown the complete network of soil life for the first time. […]

  • LED lighting could have major impact on wildlife
    on February 6, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    LED street lighting can be tailored to reduce its impacts on the environment, according to new research. […]

  • Researcher studies increased predation of sagebrush songbirds in natural gas fields
    on December 15, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    While such development has encroached on and hindered nesting habitat for three types of sagebrush-obligate birds, predation of these birds has increased because rodent populations in the vicinity of oil and gas wells have increased. […]

  • More frequent, more intense and longer-lasting storms cause heavier spring rain in central US
    on December 1, 2016 at 9:48 pm

    Intense storms have become more frequent and longer-lasting in the Great Plains and Midwest in the last 35 years. What has fueled these storms? The temperature difference between the Southern Great Plains and the Atlantic Ocean produces winds that carry moisture from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Plains, according to a recent study. […]

  • 6,000 years ago the Sahara Desert was tropical, so what happened?
    on November 30, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    As little as 6,000 years ago, the vast Sahara Desert was covered in grassland that received plenty of rainfall, but shifts in the world's weather patterns abruptly transformed the vegetated region into some of the driest land on Earth. Now a researcher is trying to uncover the clues responsible for this enormous climate transformation -- and the findings could lead to better rainfall predictions worldwide. […]

  • Intensification of land use leads to the same species everywhere
    on November 30, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    In places where humans use grasslands more intensively, it is not only the species diversity that decreases -- the landscape also becomes more monotonous, and ultimately only the same species remain everywhere. This results in nature no longer being able to provide its 'services', which range from soil formation for food production to pest control. 300 scientists have now studied the consequences of land-use intensification across different species groups at the landscape level for the very first time. […]

  • Bioenergy grass can withstand freezing temperatures
    on November 29, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    Prairie cordgrass, a native perennial grass used for biomass energy, is tolerant to salt, flooding, and freezing stress. A new study demonstrates the gene expression patterns responsible for freezing tolerance in prairie cordgrass. Once the genes responsible for freezing tolerance are identified in prairie cordgrass, they may be applied to other crops in the future. […]

  • Researchers study how reflectivity of biofuel crops impacts climate
    on November 21, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    Researchers have conducted a detailed study of the albedo (reflectivity) effects of converting land to grow biofuel crops. Based on changes in albedo alone, their findings reveal that greenhouse gas emissions in land use change scenarios represent a net warming effect for ethanol made from miscanthus grass and switchgrass, but a net cooling effect for ethanol made from corn. […]

  • Colorado River's dead clams tell tales of carbon emission
    on October 28, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    Scientists have begun to account for the topsy-turvy carbon cycle of the Colorado River delta – once a massive green estuary of grassland, marshes and cottonwood, now desiccated dead land. […]

  • Predicting climate impacts on ecosystems will require scientists to widen the lens
    on October 24, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    Scholars are making the case that overly simplistic studies on the climate impacts on ecosystems avoid the inherent complexity and interconnectedness of natural systems — and thus yield erroneous climate predictions. […]

  • Ancient global cooling gave rise to modern ecosystems
    on September 30, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Sea surface temperatures dipped dramatically during a period from 7 million to 5.4 million years ago, a time of massive global ecological change, scientists have discovered. […]

  • Antibiotic resistance can occur naturally in soil bacteria
    on September 27, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    Scientists have found antibiotic-resistant bacteria in prairie soils that had little or no exposure to human or animal activity. […]

  • 3-D animated video simulates landscape changes over 150 years
    on September 20, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    A college student designed a 3-D animated video that simulates landscape and vegetation changes on New Mexico’s Jornada Basin from the 1850s to the present. […]

  • An imbalance in nutrients threatens plant biodiversity
    on August 29, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    An unnatural balance of nutrients threatens biodiversity in a survival of the fittest scenario, according to new research. A global network of researchers who have tested the impact increased nutrient levels is having on grasslands across six continents. […]

  • Blending wastewater may help California cope with drought
    on August 26, 2016 at 12:43 pm

    Researchers have developed an economic model that demonstrates how flexible wastewater treatment processes which blend varying levels of treated effluent can create a water supply that benefits crops and is affordable. […]

  • New map of world vegetation reveals substantial changes since 1980s
    on August 15, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    A new system to map the world's 'biomes' -- large-scale vegetation formations -- has been developed that will provide an objective method for monitoring how vegetation reacts as climate changes. The system uses satellite observations of the timing and intensity of vegetation activity and how this relates to temperature and soil moisture to classify the world's vegetation into 24 biome types. […]

  • Wildlife-friendly farming shown to benefit UK moths
    on August 11, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    Wildlife-friendly farming schemes can help boost the abundance of many UK moth species, a new study has found. […]

  • Surveys of corn, soybean fields reveal implications for pollinator conservation
    on August 11, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    What kind of insect pollinators are commonly found in corn and soybean fields? The answer to that question can be found in a new article, say researchers who used modified pan traps to compare the insect communities found in the two crops. […]

  • Restoring prairie and fighting wildfire with (drone launched) fire(balls)
    on August 1, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    One ecologist wants to change the way we think about prescribed burns. The professor says he can harness extreme fire to restore grasslands on the Great Plains -- and he has created a small drone that launches ping-pong balls of fire to help him do it safely and cheaply. […]

  • Rice crops that can save farmers money and cut pollution
    on July 29, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    A new study has identified 'superstar' varieties of rice that can reduce fertilizer loss and cut down on environmental pollution in the process, report scientists. […]

  • Teasing out the microbiome of the Kansas prairie
    on July 29, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Scientists have untangled a soil metagenome -- all the genetic material recovered from a sample of soil -- more fully than ever before, reconstructing portions of the genomes of 129 species of microbes. While it's only a tiny proportion of the estimated 100,000 species in the sample, it's a leap forward for scientists who have had only a fraction of that success to date. […]

  • Modeling predicts which counties could store more carbon in soil by growing bioenergy crops
    on July 13, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    To help stakeholders in government and business make smart decisions about the best types of land and local climates for planting bioenergy crops, researchers are using computational modeling to predict which counties could see increases in soil organic carbon from cultivation of crops for biofuels. […]