Image Credit: Timber Press/Julianna Johnson Book Reviews Citizen Science SciStarter Blog 

Book Review: Field Guide to Citizen Science

By Devon Moriarty @devmoriarty Darlene Cavalier, Catherine Hoffman, and Caren Cooper. The Field Guide to Citizen Science: How You Can Contribute to Scientific Research and Make a Difference, $7.60 Kindle, $11.99 Paperback  The Field Guide to Citizen Science is currently available for pre-order.  I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but in this case, the front of The Field Guide to Citizen Science: How You Can Contribute to Scientific Research and Make a Difference effectively communicates the essence of this book. A simple black, blue, and yellow…

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Intense Lawn Mowing Lowers Biodiversity, Favors Pests Biodiversity Ecology 

Intense Lawn Mowing Lowers Biodiversity, Favors Pests

By Neha Jain @lifesciexplore  Looks can be deceiving: a uniformly well-mowed lawn might look good, but ecologically, it is not desirable. According to a recent study that analyzed the results of many studies on lawn mowing, more intensely mowed lawns showed lower plant and insect diversity and a greater abundance of pests.  According to the researchers, adopting low-intensity lawn management would bring about a host of environmental benefits including cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions, lowering the prevalence of pests, increasing pollinators and plant diversity, and saving costs.  Less is…

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Animal Adaptations: Science with Sophie Animals Biodiversity Ecology Education Science and Art Science Videos 

Urban Animal Adaptations, the Musical

Adaptations! How do animals adapt to live in human cities? Which animal sings the best? Watch them audition for survival and try an experiment with ping pong balls and tongs! This video is brought to you by our very good friend Sophia Shrand, creator and star of the educational science comedy series Science with Sophie. In this episode, we learn how different animal adaptations help them survive and thrive in city environments. We also learn how many different animals Sophie can portray (a lot). Finally, the experiment is fun for…

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Phendo: Endometriosis Study Citizen Science Health SciStarter Blog Technology 

Phendo: Understanding Endometriosis

In 2016, Noémie Elhadad and her lab at Columbia University’s Irving Medical Center created the Phendo, or “phenotyping endometriosis,” app, to better understand and identify symptoms of endometriosis. Endometriosis is a painful condition that causes overgrowth of the endometrium, or inner lining of the uterus, such that it grows outside the uterus and into other places in the body. Their goal is to fill in the gaps of knowledge about how individuals experience the disease on a day-to-day basis. The app invites anyone over the age of 13 who has…

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Parasitic plant: Dodder (Cuscutta) Photo by BCGX via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0) Biology Botany 

Parasitic Plant Has Edge in Evolutionary Arms Race

By Cameron Duke (@DukeofCam) The relationship between a parasite and its host can be a contentious one. Their interests are in direct conflict with one another, so each is always trying to circumvent the other’s plan. This is often thought of as an evolutionary “arms race.” In this ongoing competition, a parasite evolves a more efficient way to prey on the host, and the host adapts in response. These successive adaptations can lead to complex life cycles and intimate species-specific relationships.  New research out of Penn State, conducted by Michael…

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Earth's Changing Surface Biota Project Geology 

Earth’s Changing Surface: It Takes Time!

By Alyssa L. Abbeyn (@ifDiscswereRock) for The Biota Project (@thebiotaproject) It’s a pretty regular night, my partner and I are doing some extra work tonight since we are leaving early tomorrow to celebrate my birthday. I’m on my computer at the kitchen table and they’re in the other room. Quite suddenly, the house creaks and groans rocking back and forth like a rickety old table with unstable legs. My first thought, “Wow the upstairs neighbors are really stomping around up there, or maybe some furniture fell down or something…” then…

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CO2 capture and storage Climate Environment Geology 

CO2 underground could combat climate change

By Mackenzie Myers, @kenzwrites Despite the scariness of already-manifesting climate change, lawmakers and researchers worldwide have identified strategies to help us fight it. Expanding renewable energy, replacing coal with natural gas, and making machines more energy-efficient are just a few tricks humankind has up its sleeves. At the center of all this, of course, is a reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. According to a new study, one key to accomplishing that goal may lie far beneath the surface of the earth and yet be more accessible than you might…

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air quality monitoring citizen science Citizen Science Environment SciStarter Blog 

Regular People Are Changing How We Monitor Air Quality

Low cost, high impact: How access to sensors is changing everything in air quality research.   Air quality: It’s about us The ways we hear about air pollution can make us think it’s not about us. Large industrial stacks, smoky skies, and cities far away — filled with people we’ve never met, in places we don’t expect to be. Articles on the front pages of major news outlets describe air pollution in India, China, and Bangladesh, and they don’t always make the connection with people like me who live in the…

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asthma, pollution, air quality, environment Environment Genetics Health 

Asthma, Genetics, and the Environment

By Emily Folk @EmilySFolk The relationship between asthma and genetics has evaded scientists for years. Researchers are still unraveling clues today, although they’ve made many advancements in making the connection. Environmental influences have become more significant in their impact, posing new challenges in treating the disease. As scientists explore ways to enhance asthma treatment, they also work to uncover its causes, hoping for more information on its relatively vague origin. How does asthma work? Asthma is an inflammatory lung disease characterized by shortness of breath, chest tightening, coughing, and wheezing.…

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new language Anthropology Human Evolution Linguistics 

Children Create Foundation for New Language in Minutes

By Shelby Nilsen (@shellbeegrace) Human language is unlike any other form of natural communication. It is the fundamental mechanism that we as a society use to exchange information. Using oral sounds and written characters, we express our needs and ask questions. We describe our thoughts and opinions, tell stories, and teach one another new things. Through language, we connect and share common ideas. What humans can communicate through the spoken word is limitless. But how did language come to exist? Researchers at the Leipzig Research Centre for Early Childhood Development…

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