Archive for the ‘Ecology & Environment’ Category
By Russ Campbell
Brandywine Creek, which runs through southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware, once poweredBrandywine Creek, which runs through southeastern Pennsylvania and northern Delaware, once powered the mills that supported European settlements in the late 17th and 18th centuries. Today, people rely on the creek for recreation and as a source of drinking water. SciStarter contributor Russ Campbell recently spoke to Kim Hachadoorian, The Nature Conservancy Delaware‘s project manager for Stream Stewards, a citizen science project that seeks to preserve this natural resource. Read the rest of this entry »
When we think about climate change, we usually picture extreme temperatures, mega-storms, and rising seas disrupting our collective future.
But climate change is also erasing our past.
At our poles, melting ice is exposing and washing out new archeological discoveries. In the world’s arid regions, severe sandstorms are unearthing and eroding buried treasures. And on our coasts, rainstorms are revealing ancient reserves and wiping them out, often before scientists can study them. Read the rest of this entry »
Going out of your way to attract mosquitoes seems like the last thing anyone would want to do, but that is exactly what the national Invasive Mosquito Project is hoping volunteers will do in the name of public health.
Managed through the United States Department of Agriculture, the Invasive Mosquito Project aims to track the spread of invasive container-breeding mosquitoes – those whose females lay eggs in the standing water that collects in containers such as vases, rain barrels, and even pool or boat covers. The introduction of many non-native species often coincides with the introduction of new pathogens, and mosquitoes are notorious for playing host to a number of these, including the viruses responsible for West Nile, dengue and most recently in the news, Zika.
Walking through Purisima Creek Redwoods Reserve in northern California, I am the paparazzi of Western sword ferns (Polystichum munitum). When I find one, I stop and click, click, click my smartphone photos and then approach boldly for a closer look. Are new leaves emerging as curled fronds or fiddleheads? Are there round spots called sori—reproductive structures that produce spores—on the underside of the fronds? Are these spots brown or green? And how many centimeters are the four longest uncurled fronds? I am really getting intimate here, probing for the most personal of details, and ready—yes—to post it all online on the Fern Watch website. Researchers there won’t handle this information discreetly. Instead they share among themselves and all their citizen scientists, using our data to learn more about how redwood forests are responding to climate change.