Forests and streams are separate but linked ecosystems, existing side by side, with energy and nutrients crossing their porous borders and flowing back and forth between them. For example, leaves fall from trees, enter streams, decay and feed aquatic insects. Those insects emerge from the waters and are eaten by birds and bats. An international team led by Penn State researchers has now found that these ecosystems appear to keep the energy exchanges in balance — a finding that the scientists called surprising.

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