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Table 1.

Data Nuggets currently available online, covering a variety of research areas such as climate change, animal behavior, invasive species, adaptation, and mutualisms.

Reading LevelTitleKeywordsSummary
Coral Bleaching and Climate Change Climate change, coral bleaching, coral reef, marine, mutualism, temperature, animals, plants Corals look brown and green because they have small plants, called ”algae,” which live inside them. The coral animal and the algae work together to produce food. When the water gets too warm, the algae leave and the corals turn white, called “coral bleaching.” 
Dangerously Bold Animals, animal behavior, trade-off, fish, predation The best habitat for young bluegill fish to get lots of food is in the open water, but open water has very few plants for hiding from predators. Safer habitats on the edge have less food. This sets up a trade-off whereby there are costs and benefits to using either habitat. 
Do Sea Urchins Help Corals? Coral reef, herbivory, marine, sea urchin, water, animals, competition Corals only like to live in certain places. They hate living near algae because the algae and coral compete for the space they both need to grow. Perhaps if there are more animals eating algae on the reef, then corals have less competition and more space to grow. 
Can We Grow Our Chocolate and Have the Rainforest Too? Agriculture, animals, birds, ecology, plants, rainforest There are times when animals can use crops for their habitat. One good example of this is cacao trees, which grow in the understory of the rainforest. Cacao plantations are kind of like mini-rainforests but are different in some important ways, including bird communities. 
Do Insects Prefer Local or Exotic Foods? Herbivory, invasive species, plants, insects, enemy release, ecology Because herbivores are so important for how plants grow, they may determine how well an exotic plant does in its new habitat and whether it becomes invasive. If invasive species are those that get less damage from herbivores, it could help explain one of the causes of invasiveness. 
Do Invasive Species Escape Their Enemies? Herbivory, invasive species, plants, insects, enemy release, ecology When a plant is moved across oceans, it may not bring its enemies along for the ride. Now that the plant is in a new area with nothing to eat or infect it, the plant may do very well and become invasive. 
Fertilizing Biofuels May Cause Release of Greenhouse Gases Biofuels, climate change, fertilization, greenhouse gases, nitrogen, plants One way to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we release into the atmosphere could be to grow our fuel instead of drilling for it. However, the plants we grow for biofuels don’t absorb all greenhouse gas that is released during the process of growing them on farms and converting them into fuels. 
Finding a Foothold Animals, ecology, marine, mollusk, substrate, water The ground at the beach is made of rocks of many different sizes, called “substrates.” These can range from large boulders down to fine grains of sand, with many size variations in between. Different organisms live on each substrate type. 
Fish Fights Animal behavior, animals, fish, mating In many animals, males fight for territories that they use to attract females for mating. Male stickleback fish fight each other to gain territories along the bottom of the shallow areas of a lake. Perhaps more aggressive males are better at defending their territory and nests. 
Which Guy Should She Choose? Animal behavior, animals, fish, mating Mating behavior is intriguing to study because in many animal species, males use a lot of energy to attract a female. Yet some males are able to attract zero females while other males attract many females. What about the way a male looks, moves, or smells attracts the female? 
Does a Partner in Crime Make It Easier to Invade? Evolution, legume, plants, mutualism, rhizobia, invasive species Mutualisms can affect what happens when a plant species is moved somewhere it hasn’t been before. For invasive legumes with rhizobial mutualists, rhizobia may not be transported with it and the plant will have to form new relationships with rhizobia in the new location. 
Fair Traders or Freeloaders? – Cooperative and Uncooperative Bacteria Evolution, legume, plants, mutualism, rhizobia, nitrogen, fertilization Rhizobia are mutualists with legume plants and live in bumps on the plant roots. Rhizobia turn nitrogen from the air into a form that plants can use. Under some conditions this mutualism could break down – for example, if one of the traded resources is very abundant in the environment. 
Float Down the River: Total Suspended Solids River, water, suspended solids, dam, reservoir As the river flows, it picks up bits of dead plants, algae, and other living and nonliving particles from riverbed. These suspended solids are important for the river food web but can be influenced by human activities, such as the construction of dams. 
Marvelous Mud Mud, phosphorus, water, wetland Because mud is wet most of the time, it tends to have different properties than soil. Dead organic matter is an important part of mud and tends to build up in wetlands because it is decomposed more slowly under water, where microbes do not have all the oxygen they need to break it down quickly. 
Cheaters in Nature – Are Mutualisms Always Beneficial? Evolution, legume, plants, mutualism, parasitism, rhizobia, nitrogen, fertilization Mutualisms are a special type of relationship in nature whereby two species work together and both benefit. Usually this cooperation leads to each partner species doing better when the other is around. But what happens when one partner cheats and takes more than it gives? 
Dangerous Aquatic Prey: Can Predators Adapt to Toxic Algae? Adaptation, algae, evolution, marine, predation Microscopic algae form the base of all aquatic food chains. Some algae produce toxins, and when these algae reach high population levels they form a toxic “algal bloom.” Can predators feeding on toxic prey for many generations evolve resistance, by natural selection, to the toxic prey? 
The Ground Has Gas! Climate change, temperature, greenhouse gases, nitrogen, plants Nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide are responsible for much of global warming. Sometimes soils give off, or emit, these greenhouse gases into the Earth’s atmosphere, adding to climate change. Currently, scientists are figuring out what causes differences in how much of each type of greenhouse gas soils emit. 
Reading LevelTitleKeywordsSummary
Coral Bleaching and Climate Change Climate change, coral bleaching, coral reef, marine, mutualism, temperature, animals, plants Corals look brown and green because they have small plants, called ”algae,” which live inside them. The coral animal and the algae work together to produce food. When the water gets too warm, the algae leave and the corals turn white, called “coral bleaching.” 
Dangerously Bold Animals, animal behavior, trade-off, fish, predation The best habitat for young bluegill fish to get lots of food is in the open water, but open water has very few plants for hiding from predators. Safer habitats on the edge have less food. This sets up a trade-off whereby there are costs and benefits to using either habitat. 
Do Sea Urchins Help Corals? Coral reef, herbivory, marine, sea urchin, water, animals, competition Corals only like to live in certain places. They hate living near algae because the algae and coral compete for the space they both need to grow. Perhaps if there are more animals eating algae on the reef, then corals have less competition and more space to grow. 
Can We Grow Our Chocolate and Have the Rainforest Too? Agriculture, animals, birds, ecology, plants, rainforest There are times when animals can use crops for their habitat. One good example of this is cacao trees, which grow in the understory of the rainforest. Cacao plantations are kind of like mini-rainforests but are different in some important ways, including bird communities. 
Do Insects Prefer Local or Exotic Foods? Herbivory, invasive species, plants, insects, enemy release, ecology Because herbivores are so important for how plants grow, they may determine how well an exotic plant does in its new habitat and whether it becomes invasive. If invasive species are those that get less damage from herbivores, it could help explain one of the causes of invasiveness. 
Do Invasive Species Escape Their Enemies? Herbivory, invasive species, plants, insects, enemy release, ecology When a plant is moved across oceans, it may not bring its enemies along for the ride. Now that the plant is in a new area with nothing to eat or infect it, the plant may do very well and become invasive. 
Fertilizing Biofuels May Cause Release of Greenhouse Gases Biofuels, climate change, fertilization, greenhouse gases, nitrogen, plants One way to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we release into the atmosphere could be to grow our fuel instead of drilling for it. However, the plants we grow for biofuels don’t absorb all greenhouse gas that is released during the process of growing them on farms and converting them into fuels. 
Finding a Foothold Animals, ecology, marine, mollusk, substrate, water The ground at the beach is made of rocks of many different sizes, called “substrates.” These can range from large boulders down to fine grains of sand, with many size variations in between. Different organisms live on each substrate type. 
Fish Fights Animal behavior, animals, fish, mating In many animals, males fight for territories that they use to attract females for mating. Male stickleback fish fight each other to gain territories along the bottom of the shallow areas of a lake. Perhaps more aggressive males are better at defending their territory and nests. 
Which Guy Should She Choose? Animal behavior, animals, fish, mating Mating behavior is intriguing to study because in many animal species, males use a lot of energy to attract a female. Yet some males are able to attract zero females while other males attract many females. What about the way a male looks, moves, or smells attracts the female? 
Does a Partner in Crime Make It Easier to Invade? Evolution, legume, plants, mutualism, rhizobia, invasive species Mutualisms can affect what happens when a plant species is moved somewhere it hasn’t been before. For invasive legumes with rhizobial mutualists, rhizobia may not be transported with it and the plant will have to form new relationships with rhizobia in the new location. 
Fair Traders or Freeloaders? – Cooperative and Uncooperative Bacteria Evolution, legume, plants, mutualism, rhizobia, nitrogen, fertilization Rhizobia are mutualists with legume plants and live in bumps on the plant roots. Rhizobia turn nitrogen from the air into a form that plants can use. Under some conditions this mutualism could break down – for example, if one of the traded resources is very abundant in the environment. 
Float Down the River: Total Suspended Solids River, water, suspended solids, dam, reservoir As the river flows, it picks up bits of dead plants, algae, and other living and nonliving particles from riverbed. These suspended solids are important for the river food web but can be influenced by human activities, such as the construction of dams. 
Marvelous Mud Mud, phosphorus, water, wetland Because mud is wet most of the time, it tends to have different properties than soil. Dead organic matter is an important part of mud and tends to build up in wetlands because it is decomposed more slowly under water, where microbes do not have all the oxygen they need to break it down quickly. 
Cheaters in Nature – Are Mutualisms Always Beneficial? Evolution, legume, plants, mutualism, parasitism, rhizobia, nitrogen, fertilization Mutualisms are a special type of relationship in nature whereby two species work together and both benefit. Usually this cooperation leads to each partner species doing better when the other is around. But what happens when one partner cheats and takes more than it gives? 
Dangerous Aquatic Prey: Can Predators Adapt to Toxic Algae? Adaptation, algae, evolution, marine, predation Microscopic algae form the base of all aquatic food chains. Some algae produce toxins, and when these algae reach high population levels they form a toxic “algal bloom.” Can predators feeding on toxic prey for many generations evolve resistance, by natural selection, to the toxic prey? 
The Ground Has Gas! Climate change, temperature, greenhouse gases, nitrogen, plants Nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide are responsible for much of global warming. Sometimes soils give off, or emit, these greenhouse gases into the Earth’s atmosphere, adding to climate change. Currently, scientists are figuring out what causes differences in how much of each type of greenhouse gas soils emit. 
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