In a delightful collaboration with the George Washington University and Georgetown University, our periodical cicada research made it to the cover of Science! John Lill (GWU) and Martha Weiss (GU) began this work during the early dark days of the COVID-19 pandemic (2020) in preparation for the big Brood X event in 2021. Zoe Getman-Pickering came aboard as a GWU postdoc in 2021 to lead the effort, which included fieldwork and community science. Former UMD Entomology & Grunerlab student Grace Soltis collected bird foraging data for her Honor's thesis, which was a central component of this research.
In short, we found that more than 80 bird species shifted their foraging to the overwhelming numbers of the cicada emergence, which released caterpillars and doubled their damage to white oaks. Given that the Brood X periodical cicadas emerged in the billions across 15 states, and that there is a different brood emerging somewhere in the Eastern US nearly every year, the indirect food web ramifications are geographically extensive.