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…

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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…

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Citizen Science Citizen Science Connected Blog 

Help Audubon Protect Threatened Birds

Audubon’s Climate Watch Program needs volunteers to help it spot 12 birds threatened by climate change. Are you in? “Hope is the thing with feathers/ That perches in the soul,” Emily Dickinson wrote. Is there hope for our feathered friends in the era of climate change? Yes, but they need our help. More than 300 North American birds will likely lose over 50 percent of their current geographical range by 2080, according to Audubon’s 2014 Birds and Climate Change Report. This means that the areas with the climate conditions these…

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Education 

Reintroducing Science Connected Magazine

GotScience has always been part of the nonprofit organization Science Connected, and it’s time to fully bring the two projects together. Beginning July 1, GotScience Magazine will become Science Connected Magazine! Our mission at Science Connected has always been to produce honest, engaging, and available science communication and literature about science for educators and lifelong learners, written by scientists and science communicators. We do this by creating a collaborative space for researchers, citizen scientists, educators, and science communicators to write about scientific projects that will change our world. And because…

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Biology Citizen Science Connected Blog Oceanography 

Why Citizen Scientists Study Phytoplankton in Antarctica

By Allison Cusick and Verena Meraldi Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography are working with Antarctic tour operators like Hurtigurten to enable vacationers to serve as citizen scientists with the FjordPhyto citizen science project. Travelers collect samples of phytoplankton from Antarctic fjords in an effort to understand the base of the food web, helping scientists learn how one of the most fertile ocean regions in the world may be changing. Human Impact in Remote Areas You would think that the most remote continent on Earth, Antarctica, would be the least…

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Book Reviews Citizen Science Connected Blog 

Changing Methods of Science Communication Online

by Dr. Ashley Rose Mehlenbacher Science Communication Online: A New Book Exploring How We Do and Share Science On the Internet. Free access! An open access copy under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND license is also available from The Ohio State University Press, and you can download a copy here: https://kb.osu.edu/handle/1811/87159 —or, you may purchase the book from the press or most major book retailers. When we discuss science communication, we often talk about it as either targeted at professional scientists or as targeted at the public. However, with the…

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Environment Oceanography Science Policy 

The US Needs a Federal Ban on Marine Plastic Pollution

By Neha Jain (@lifesciexplore) Plastics may be convenient and cheap, but they are littering every part of the Earth, even once-pristine areas. The sheer scale of marine plastic pollution is staggering: over 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic are estimated to engulf the oceans. And the amount of plastic entering the oceans is expected to increase by an order of magnitude by 2025. In the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” located between California and Hawaii, almost half of the waste by size comes from fishing nets. Marine plastic waste is not just…

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Citizen Science Connected Blog 

Alzheimer’s research furthered with citizen science games

A team of researchers at the Human Computation Institute and Cornell University seek to understand what causes a 30% reduction of blood flow to the brain in Alzheimer’s patients. Preliminary findings from the Schaffer-Nishimura Biomedical Engineering Lab suggest that restoring blood flow to the brain could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and restore cognitive functioning. But there is too much data to sift through, and the blood flow imagery is too subtle for most algorithms to classify into capillaries that are either flowing or stalled. So instead, citizen scientists are…

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Botany Ecology Environment 

An Evolutionary Approach to Conserving Plant Habitats

By Mackenzie Myers (@thetiniestnail) To conserve plant habitats, a traditional approach to biodiversity—species richness, or saving as many species as possible—might not be the most effective route. Instead, vulnerable landscapes might be better served by a quality-over-quantity mindset, a recent paper from a team of UC Berkeley scientists suggests. Think of going into a grocery store. On a budget and with limited cooking time, shoppers probably don’t buy the first dozen random ingredients they see on the shelf. Rather, they find it more practical to shop deliberately, perhaps by looking…

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Citizen Science Citizen Science Connected Blog Environment Health 

Empowering Communities to Examine Lead Exposure with Crowd the Tap

By Bradley Allf Lead pipes for transporting water have been a fixture of modern civilization for more than two thousand years.  Ancient Romans channeled water into homes and bathhouses through lead piping. In fact, the Latin word for lead, plumbum, is where we get the English word “plumbing.” Yet we have also long recognized that lead can have a serious impact on our health. Vitrivius, who lived during the first century BCE, wrote at length about the physical harm caused by lead exposure, concluding that “water should therefore on no…

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