Book Reviews Citizen Science Connected Blog 

Reflecting on the Life of a Citizen Scientist

by Danielle Griffin Smitten by Giraffe: My Life as a Citizen Scientist is a memoir by Anne Innis Dagg. In the text, she describes her pursuits as a citizen scientist, ranging from her first encounter with giraffe (the plural of giraffe used in Smitten By Giraffe is “giraffe”) as a child, through her studies at the University of Toronto in the 1950s, to her more recent projects. Dagg calls herself a citizen scientist, but like many other citizen scientists, she has in fact worn many hats in her long and…

Read More
Biology Botany 

Steroid Hormones Protect Cotton from Drought

By Radhika Desikan As you are reading this, chances are that you are wearing something made of cotton, or have come in contact with some cotton fabric today. Cotton accounts for nearly half of all clothing material in the world. Cotton plants date back to prehistoric times; there is evidence of cotton farming from around 5000 BC in the Indian subcontinent. Cotton fabric is made of cotton fibres, which grow in the protective cases (bolls) around the seeds of the cotton plant (Gossypium hirsutum). However, it is not just the…

Read More
Citizen Science Connected Blog Ecology 

Protect Local Waterways with the EarthEcho Water Challenge

By Sean Russell On March 22, this year’s EarthEcho Water Challenge kicked off, empowering young people and community members around the world to monitor and protect local water resources in their communities. Initiated in 2003 as the World Water Monitoring Challenge (in celebration of the U.S. Clean Water Act), this year-round, global program is designed to connect anyone, of any age, to their local water resources through water quality monitoring. Participants share their water quality data through the global EarthEcho Water Challenge online database, contributing to our understanding of the…

Read More
Biology Botany Education 

Curing “Plant Blindness” with Botanical Gardens and Farms

By Neha Jain (@lifesciexplore) What was the last plant you saw? Have you ever seen a grain of wheat? How many varieties of rice are there? Although many of us desire a green environment, more and more people, especially urban dwellers, are becoming oblivious to the plants around them—so much so that just over two decades ago, researchers even coined a term for this phenomenon: “plant blindness.”  Much of the food we eat today is the result of thousands of years of plant cultivation and breeding by our ancestors. As…

Read More
Ecology Geology 

Exploring the Science of Mountain Biodiversity

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) Mountain systems are hotspots of biodiversity, which means that they host many different species of many taxonomic groups in condensed spatial scales. Much has been studied about mountains and their diversity, but the biological and geological processes that maintain their great number of species remain elusive. In a recent review in Nature Geoscience, Alexandre Antonelli and colleagues have accounted for many different aspects of mountains and their diversity, trying to fill in the many gaps in this field of study by quantifying the relative importance of…

Read More
Citizen Science Citizen Science Connected Blog Environment Health 

You Can Help Beat Extreme Heat in Cities

Imagine a smoldering hot day in downtown Boston: temperatures have reached over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and the sidewalks and streets are absorbing the strong heat from the sun and radiating it back into the air.  Days like this are becoming hotter and more frequent. This “silent storm” causes more deaths in the US than all other weather hazards combined. Heat impacts human health, infrastructure, and the environment. The Urban Heat Island (UHI) Effect Urban areas trap heat inside of them, experiencing hotter temperatures than in surrounding suburban areas. Cities are…

Read More
Biology Biota Project Chemistry Environment 

Learning Where Water Comes From, With Isotopes

by Nicholas Dove and Alyssa Abbey Did you ever wonder where your water is coming from? For many of us, drinking a glass of water is as easy as turning on the tap. But, the journey of water from a single raindrop to your drinking glass starts long before then. Water can actually travel hundreds of miles or take hundreds of years before it finally reaches you. During this hot summer month of July, The Biota Project is exploring the origins of one of Earth’s most precious resources: water. We…

Read More
Citizen Science Environment Health Science Policy 

Environmental Health Is a Social Justice Issue

By Shayna Keyles (@shaynakeyles) When we talk about recycling, mitigating climate change, protecting habitats, and more, it’s not only for some abstract mission of “saving the earth,” though that would be good, too. These are environmental justice issues; they are part of the struggle for basic human rights. Environmental justice in the US In the United States, the environmental justice movement grew out of the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Communities of Black, Latinx, Native American, low-income, and immigrant groups found that they were disproportionately affected by…

Read More
Biology Citizen Science Connected Blog Oceanography 

Ocean Conservation and Citizen Science at the Long Beach Scuba Show

by Kristin Butler Each year, the Long Beach Scuba Show brings together divers from around the world for seminars and exhibits on all things scuba, with topics ranging from dive gear to scuba vacations. Though the show mostly showcases the business side of diving, visitors can also learn about nonprofits that use diving to fight cancer, promote ocean conservation, and collect citizen science data. Two of the nonprofits that attended this year’s show in May developed and currently run citizen science projects I wrote about in 2017: Reef Check and…

Read More
Biology Botany 

This Bug’s Bacteria Helps Rice Plants Boost Immunity

By Radhika Desikan Rice is the most widely consumed staple cereal crop for about half of the world’s human population, but its cultivation comes with inherent challenges, such as crop attacks by herbivorous pests. Brown planthopper (BPH) is an insect pest which feeds on rice plants and causes extensive damage to crops. However, there are some rice varieties that are resistant to BPH; increasing research in this area is aimed at understanding the mechanisms of this resistance. Moreover, although there are about 800 insect herbivores that feed on rice, the…

Read More