Importance of tiny creatures in grassland ecology

A newly published study reveals the importance of earthworms, beetles, and other tiny creatures to the structure of grasslands and the valuable ecosystem services they provide.

When asked to describe a forest or a meadow, most people would probably begin with the plants, the species diversity, or the color of the foliage. They probably wouldn’t pay much attention to the animals living in the soil.

But a new Yale-led study shows the critical importance of earthworms, beetles, and other tiny creatures to the structure of grasslands and the valuable ecosystem services they provide.

During a 3-year study, researchers found that removing these small animals from the soil of a replicated Scottish sheep meadow altered the plant species that grew in the ecosystem, reduced overall productivity, and produced plants that were less responsive to common agricultural management, such as fertilization.

The results reflect the long-term ecological impacts of land use changes, such as the conversion of forests to agricultural land…

“We know these soil animals are important controls on processes which cause nutrients and carbon to cycle in ecosystems, but there was little evidence that human-induced loss of these animals has effects at the level of the whole ecosystem, on services such as agricultural yield,” said Mark Bradford…lead author of the study…

“Yet that’s exactly what we found.”

RTFA for the details of approach, method, discovery. The Yale School of Forestry has been around a couple thousand years – it feels like, sometimes. They never stop pressing for more and better understanding of the environment.

Thanks, Mike

You wake up from surgery wearing only pink panties — and you’re a guy — WTF?

A Delaware man’s lawsuit alleges he awoke from anesthesia after a colonoscopy procedure to find he had been dressed in a pair of pink panties.

The New Castle County Superior Court lawsuit, filed by attorney Gary Nitsche on behalf of Andrew Walls, 32, said Walls was employed by the Delaware Surgery Center in Dover when he underwent a colonoscopy procedure at the facility in 2012.

Nitsche said his client was put under anesthesia during the procedure and he awoke after surgery to find someone had dressed him in pink women’s underwear.

“When the plaintiff initially presented for his colonoscopy he had not been wearing pink women’s underwear and at no time did the plaintiff voluntarily, knowingly or intentionally place the pink women’s underwear upon himself,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit, which also names the Eden Hill Surgical Group of Dover, alleges Walls suffered “severe emotional stress,” and Nitsche wrote his client is seeking compensation for mental anguish, blah, blah, etc., blah, blah.

Except for the boilerplate lawyerese at the end it’s a reasonably droll tale.

During WW2, one of my uncles pulled a comparable stunt on a PITA officer who was recovering from minor surgery. He had him lie on his stomach so he could check his temperature with a rectal thermometer. Then, disappeared. The officer finally became curious as to why folks were chuckling when they walked past his bed.

Which is when he discovered there was a long-stemmed daisy up his butt instead of a thermometer.

FTC expects record claims over AT&T cramming scam

AT&Y scum

Over 359,000 AT&T customers have already filled out an online application to obtain refunds from the company, which padded phone bills with suspect SMS charges.

Since the Federal Trade Commission announced a $105 million settlement with AT&T last week over fake billing charges, 359,000 individuals have already come forward to claim their share of the refund money, and that number is expected to climb.

The claims relate to so-called “cramming” charges in which AT&T customers paid extra fees, usually in the amount of $9.99, for “premium SMS” services that promised to deliver content like horoscopes and celebrity news to cell phones. Such services are a relic of the pre-smartphone days, but people still paid for them, often without authorization, with AT&T receiving a commission on the charges…

The process for making a claim is very straightforward: anyone who was an AT&T customer after January 1, 2009 can simply fill out this online form, which only requires a phone number and address.

Crooked corporation of the day, eh?