Science cover - Copious Cicadas
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Biology Professor Martha Weiss recent publication

Biology Professor Martha Weiss, with her colleagues at The George Washington University and The University of Maryland, recently published a study investigating the ecological impacts of periodical cicada emergences on forest food webs. The researchers report that during the 2021 Brood X emergence, more than 80 bird species opportunistically switched their diets to cicadas, releasing herbivorous insects from predation and essentially doubling both caterpillar densities and accumulated herbivory damage on host oak trees. These short-lived but massive emergence events help us to understand how resource pulses can rewire interaction webs and disrupt energy flows in ecosystems, with potentially long-lasting effects.