Phenology

Phenology
Nature Notes: Misty mornings on the Mighty Miss

Ever wonder why there's a wintry mist on the water in the morning, but not later in the day? Even when it's still quite cold?

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Mist rising from the Mississippi on a cold December dawn
Red fox: Two paws, one print

The red fox is a common yet fascinating animal in the Mississippi River valley. Winter's a great time to spot their tracks — if you know what to look for.

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Red fox
Dead man’s fingers found at Pine Bend Bluffs

FMR Lead Ecologist Karen Schik found this spooky-looking fungus deep in the oak forest ravines at Pine Bend Bluffs Scientific and Natural Area.

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Dead man's finger found at Pine Bend Bluffs
A writhing mass of … Indiangrass seed?

When things move that shouldn’t it’s a cause for investigation. The self-seeding motions of a pile of volunteer-gathered Indiangrass seed caught this FMR ecologist by surprise.

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Earthworms invade our forest floor

When people think about phenology, the study of natural phenomena and cycles, they usually look up. We tend to focus on events like bud break, bird migration, leaf fall, etc. But what about the changes going on beneath our feet? Looking down once in a while may help you familiarize yourself with the buzz of activity underfoot, including the effects of one particularly damaging invasive species: earthworms.

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A field assistant prepares to collect a nightcrawler for analysis as part of an earthworm sampling project in Minnesota forests.
Earthworms invade our forest floor

When people think about natural seasonal changes, we usually look up — bud break, bird migration, leaf change, etc. But what about the natural world under our feet? There's a buzz of activity, including the effects of one particularly damaging invasive species: earthworms. >>

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Blazing blooms!

July and August are the most flowerful months in our native prairies and wetlands. Enjoy a few of the beauties FMR ecologists have recently come across in their field work.

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Arrowhead flowers

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