Citizen Science Citizen Science Connected Blog Environment Health 

Empowering Communities to Examine Their 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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Biology Botany 

Plants Can Win a Battle against Aphids

By Radhika Desikan Being sessile, plants are faced with constant pressures from their environment, such as extreme climates, microbes, and herbivores including insects and animals. To cope with these challenges, some plants have evolved the ability to tolerate particular stresses or defend themselves against insect pests. For decades, scientists have been trying to understand how some plants tolerate these challenges, with the aim of improving overall plant health and increasing crop yields. Aphids are a problem Aphids are common pests of most cultivated plants. They belong to a family of…

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Citizen Science Citizen Science Connected Blog 

Sound Around Town Uses Data to Combat Noise Pollution

By Bradley Allf At the start of World War I, thousands of soldiers were coming down with a baffling condition: they became blind, deaf, lost their memory, or developed uncontrollable shaking despite no obvious physical injury. Even stranger, this malady could be triggered by memories of the war even after the fighting had ended. At the time, doctors called what they were seeing “shell-shock,” though today we would call it by a different name: post-traumatic stress disorder. Anything that brought back memories of the trenches could precipitate this condition, but…

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Biology Environment Science Policy 

Does Habitat Fragmentation Affect Biodiversity?

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) Most scientists used to believe that habitat fragmentation was a real threat to biodiversity, but some controversial ideas have made this a potential topic for further discussion. Iconic experiments in the Brazilian Amazon, for example, have shown the edge effects on the ability of small patches to retain species. Edge effects relate to the possible outcomes of having too much border on chopped forests, which creates a boundary between two habitats. Where there is deforestation, patches are the remaining pieces of natural vegetation among other human-affected…

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Book Reviews Citizen Science Connected Blog Ecology Oceanography 

Book Review: a World Without Fish and Unraveling Ocean Life

by Patricia Balbon Day-to-day encounters of fish—at the grocery store, visiting an aquarium—passively reinforce a notion of triviality about aquatic life until we are prompted to take a pause and spare a thought for a breathtaking world beyond the shore. This month’s selection in our ongoing book review series, World Without Fish, prompts such reflection; however, as the pages turn, we witness the marine world’s vulnerability alongside its majesty.  Through Mark Kurlansky’s words and Frank Stockton’s art, we are challenged by the crisis of disappearing biodiversity in our oceans.  This…

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Ecology Environment Science Policy 

Forest Restoration, Not Plantations, Will Curb Warming

By Neha Jain (@lifesciexplore) Forests are our best natural weapon against climate change. By sucking up large amounts of carbon dioxide from the air, forests can store about a quarter of the carbon necessary to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. So, it is not surprising that boosting forest area through restoration has been one of the main goals of international organizations tackling rising global temperatures. Encouragingly, 43 countries concentrated around the tropics, where trees grow fast, have pledged to restore 292 million hectares of forest…

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Animals Citizen Science Citizen Science Connected Blog Ecology 

Citizen Science in Nebraska is Bigger Than You Think

by Megan Ray Nichols (@nicholsrmegan) In Nebraska, scientists working for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission are increasingly relying on casual researchers and citizen scientists to better understand three creatures in particular: spotted skunks, salamanders, and regal fritillary butterflies. Why? The populations of these species have either declined or are in jeopardy, and scientists want to get a current population count. Let’s take a closer look at these three Nebraskan citizen science projects and what researchers hope to learn from data collected by citizen scientists. Nebraska is a big state.…

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Citizen Science Connected Blog Education 

Cyberchase Makes Math and Science Exciting, Fun, and Relevant to Kids

By Bob Krech Based on my many years of teaching elementary math and science, I know that when kids are bored with math and science, it’s usually because they don’t see the point of how these subjects could be useful or interesting in the context of their real lives. Kids want to apply their math and science skills to make things happen! One great way to help them do this and see the value of these subjects is to introduce the idea of citizen science. Citizen science creates connections for…

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Citizen Science Connected Blog 

Citizen Science Connected, a New Blog Platform

SciStarter and Science Connected are partnering to produce a new blog platform: Citizen Science Connected. Citizen science is a way for regular people to do real research, and the Citizen Science Connected platform is a place to tell those stories. The fields that citizen science advances are diverse: ecology, astronomy, medicine, psychology, linguistics, genetics, engineering, and many more. Science Connected is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit publisher of science nonfiction for a general audience and resources for science teachers. The organization is powered by a global group of scientists and science communicators…

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Biology Botany Chemistry 

Microbes Help Plants Survive Heavy Metal Stress

By Radhika Desikan When you hear the term heavy metal, what do you think of? Music or chemistry? Exposure to heavy metal music can cause stress in some humans. But what about chemical heavy metals? Are they good or bad for the environment and living organisms? In chemical terms, heavy metals are elements in earth’s crust that have a high density (weight), and they include zinc, copper, iron, silver, gold, arsenic, lead, and cobalt, to name a few. While trace amounts of heavy metals such as copper, iron, cobalt, and…

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