When Mount St. Helen’s blew its top in 1980, Charlie Crisafulli was 22 years old and just beginning his career as a research ecologist. One of his first assignments: travel to Mount St. Helens 2 months after the historic eruption and study the aftermath.
Crisafulli and his colleagues traveled by helicopter into the volcanic disturbance zones to gather ecological data. Crisafulli, a scientist at the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station, spent the next 25 years analyzing data that enabled him to produce long-term data sets to use to study the ecological patterns and processes of species survival and colonization. He observed the development of ecological relationships across the volcanic landscape. Fast forward to October 2, 2004.
“ We flew a boat in by helicopter to Spirit Lake just 2 days before the October 4, 2004, eruptions to characterize the chemical, physical, and biological conditions of the lake,” says Crisafulli. “We surveyed more than 100 ponds for amphibians and aquatic invertebrates, and live-small mammals at 14 sites right in front of the crater. Unlike in 1980, when we had very little pre-eruption data, we now have a broad network of established plots and lots of data on hundreds of aquatic and terrestrial species—from microscopic-aquatic plants, to insects to mammals. This information is important baseline data for assessing future disturbance from the volcano.”
“ Even in areas where all life had perished, small-oasis habitats developed within a few years of the 1980 eruption,” says Crisafulli. “Plants became established around small springs that promoted the colonization of many small mammals, birds, amphibians, and insects. Although embedded within a vast, barren terrain, oases habitats sustained many colonizing organisms, eliminating the need for dispersal corridors between source populations and newly created habitat patches. These oases habitats were of tremendous importance to the overall biodiversity of the larger landscape, they contributed much of the biodiversity.
“ St. Helens has had a very active eruptive past, and if history provides any indication of future eruptive potential, we may well expect Mount St. Helens to cause additional disturbances to the surrounding landscape during this next century,” Crisafulli explains. “Since 1980, the volcano has made a great template to study disturbance. More than 100 physical and life scientists have studied the 1980 eruption and subsequent ecological responses. And these studies continue to expand our knowledge and long-term database.”
Crisafulli and his colleagues have a book due to be published by Springer Verlag in May 2005. Ecological Responses to the 1980 Eruption of Mount St. Helens is a synthesize of findings from the past two decades. A writers’ workshop, “The meaning of Mount St. Helens,” is also scheduled to be held in Portland, Ore., in 2005.
Sherri Richardson Dodge | EurekAlert!
International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
World Water Day 2017: It doesn’t Always Have to Be Drinking Water – Using Wastewater as a Resource
17.03.2017 | ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences