Archive for the ‘conservation’ tag

Weeding: It’s Not Just for Gardeners

By August 10th, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Comment

By Kayla Keyes, Mote Marine Laboratory

Recent news about Australia’s Great Barrier Reef has been grim: the most recent aerial survey of the reef identified a stretch of bleached coral over 900 miles (1500 km) long, and scientists have declared the reef to be in a terminal stage. Studies have shown that losing the Great Barrier Reef would result in a globally destructive economic and environmental chain reaction, but despite all of the pressures threatening the future of our reefs a positive light shines brightly from Magnetic Island in Queensland, Australia. Read the rest of this entry »

Citizen Scientists Diving to Study The Mystery of Manta Rays

By July 8th, 2017 at 11:15 am | Comment

This post is part of our Divers’ series. We encourage readers to continue the conversation by adding their own comments, question or concerns on our Facebook page. You’ll find links to other posts at the end of this story. 

Two years ago I rang in the New Year by scuba diving with giant manta rays off the coast of Hawaii’s Big Island. It was a bucket list experience I will never forget and one that introduced me to a new form of citizen science.

That evening, after enjoying a late afternoon dive among sea turtles and tropical fish, my fellow divers and I returned to the boat for snacks and some instruction. Our dive leader went over the protocols for a night dive and reminded us that rays are a vulnerable species that we must not touch. Read the rest of this entry »

Endangered Bumble Bee Gets Help From Citizen Scientists

By March 22nd, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Comment

The United States Endangered Species Act is often considered to be the most powerful piece of environmental legislation not just in the US, but in the world. As a result, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) formally lists a species as either threatened or endangered, it can be a game-changer for the species in question, protecting and even recovering a plant or animal that would otherwise be headed towards extinction. Such an action usually garners a fair amount of notice among conservation biologists and environmental advocates. Read the rest of this entry »

Turtle Crossing in Wisconsin

By January 12th, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Comment

Why did the turtle cross the road? Change the “why” to a “where,” and conservation biologist Andrew Badje just might be able to tell you. Through his work with the Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program, Badje collects turtle road crossing data to help map populations, especially at precarious road and rail crossings. Read the rest of this entry »

Celebrating the citizen in citizen science

By November 2nd, 2016 at 5:57 pm | Comment

Volunteers process birds as part of COASST program. Image credit: COASST

Volunteers process birds as part of COASST program. Image credit: COASST

I believe that citizen science is about citizenship as well as science. By this, I don’t mean citizenship in a specific country, but in a larger community. As a citizen scientist focusing on the natural world, I become a better citizen of that world—the world of tree frogs, say, or hummingbirds or dragonflies. Citizen science makes me a better citizen of a particular place, like the river where I am looking for macroinvertebrates or the mountain range where I document invasive plant species.

Recently, I was pleased to read a paper in the journal Conservation Biology that explores whether participating in citizen science also leads to a more conventional citizenship. The authors test the theory that citizen science is a path to social and political action by taking a close look at the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), a program that relies on volunteers to monitor beached seabirds from Mendocino, California to Kotzebue, Alaska. Read the rest of this entry »