Australian Bushfires/Wildfires Biodiversity Climate Change Environment 

Extreme Wildfires’ Effects on Australian Forests

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) Australia began 2020 facing the losses and catastrophic effects of the early fire season that began in September 2019. As of this writing, 33 people have died, and more than 2,200 homes have been lost—numbers that may increase, as some fires are still burning in the country, even after heavy rains have helped put out others. According to scientists, more than one billion animals have died in the wildfires, while more than 46 million acres of land have burned. Experts are saying that the Australian environment…

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Citizen Science SciStarter Blog 

Citizen Science is for Lovers this Valentine’s Day!

By Bob Hirshon (@Bob Hirshon) It’s almost Valentine’s Day. Cuddle up with these five projects–and one book–that we love! They are waiting for you with open arms. Xoxo, The SciStarter Team Health eHeart You’re probably science-savvy enough to know that the seat of love is in the brain, not the heart. But do you really want to send a romantic card that says “I (brain) you!” We thought not. So follow your heart to the Health eHeart (get it?) project, where you and your SO can share data that will…

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organic strawberries Botany Ecology Health 

Wounding Leaves Produces Sweeter Organic Strawberries

By Radhika Desikan Do you like your fruit to be organically grown or conventionally grown? This has been a choice available to consumers since the first half of the 20th century in response to raised awareness about agriculture’s dependence on synthetic chemicals. With increasing scientific discoveries of novel chemicals that protect and help plants grow, there was also increased knowledge about the possible dangers of having these chemicals in food crops. This resulted in farmers growing crops without the use of agrochemicals, leading to the movement of organic farming. There…

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The water bear or moss piglet is a tiny invertebrate that's been around on Earth for more than half a billion years. This is a giant model at the AMNH's "Life at the Limits" exhibit. Photo courtesy of Eden, Janine, and Jim(CC BY 2.0) Animals Biology Climate Change Environment 

Even the Resilient Tardigrade Has an Achilles Heel

By Shelby Nilsen (@shellbeegrace) Climate change is already affecting many habitats and ecosystems. As a result, scientists are working to understand how the rising temperatures we face might affect extant animals—that is, those species that are still surviving—including tardigrades, some of the toughest organisms around, which are well known for their ability to adapt to extreme environments.  In the face of certain environmental cues, tardigrades enter cryptobiosis, a state in which all metabolic processes stop until the organism’s surroundings become favorable again. This remarkable survival tactic allows tardigrades to withstand…

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hydropower dam Engineering Environment 

Are Hydropower Dams the Future of Energy?

By Emily Folk @EmilySFolk Growing concerns about fossil fuels—especially their potential contributions to pollution and global warming—have individuals and governments around the globe looking for alternative sources of power. Hydropower is one of the oldest sources of electricity, already responsible for generating around 52 percent of the United States’ renewable electricity generation according to the National Hydropower Association. Hydroelectric dams are seen as some of the best options available. However, there are challenges that hydropower will need to overcome—otherwise, they may prevent the energy source’s widespread adoption. Current state of…

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View towards Khumbu and Cholatse from below Ama Dablam at about 4,900 m showing typical subnival vegetation in the foreground. Photo credit: Karen Anderson Climate Change Ecology 

Plants Climb Himalayas as Snow Line Recedes

By Emily Rhode Humans aren’t the only ones climbing the highest peaks in the world these days. Thanks to warming temperatures, some areas around Mt. Everest that are normally covered in snow are getting greener. To a plant, that’s great news. But for the 1.4 billion people who live at the base of the Himalayas and depend on snowmelt for fresh water, the steady march of the stubby vegetation that inhabits the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region could be an indication of a crisis in the making. High-altitude data mining…

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SuperbOwl: Image credit: Alexas_Fotos via Pixabay Animals Citizen Science SciStarter Blog 

Five Ways to Prepare for SuperbOwl Sunday

By Bob Hirshon @BobHirshon Sunday, February 2 is the most exciting day of the year for owl-lovers all over the world: SuperbOwl Sunday! This is the day when the ornithologically-inclined brave the elements to admire owls near them, photograph owls and/or, for some reason, stay indoors and watch football. No matter who you’re hooting for this Super Bowl Sunday, you can celebrate SuperbOwls and citizen science. Get started with the projects we’ve spotlighted, below. Cheer for science…like 49ers cheerleader Kelly! Cognitive neuroscientist and San Francisco 49ers Gold Rush Cheerleader Kelly…

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Bush Fires across Woy Woy Bay in New South Wales, Australia, Photo by Martin Snicer (CC BY-ND 2.0) Climate Change Ecology Environment 

Australian Bushfires vs Amazon Rain Forest Fires

By Jacqueline Mattos (@mattosjacq) Year 2019 faced many climatic emergencies and devastating scenarios. The Amazon rainforest in Brazil was consumed by a number of fires that burned around 17.5 million acres of land, and Australia was ravaged by massive bushfires that have spread uncontrollably into 2020. There are many questions about the differences between these two events. From a large distance, they might look alike, but they actually present a lot of dissimilarities, making any comparison unfair. The evident and shocking number of deaths in Australia—both human and animal—already shows…

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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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