How Citizen Science Led to The Discovery of Tree-Dwelling Toads

Two groups of citizen scientists in the UK discovered something previously unknown to science– toads living in trees. Read on to learn about how citizen science and collaborations with scientists can lead to more interesting questions and discoveries.

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More Accessible Monitoring: Using Freely-Available Aerial Photos and Software to Map Changes in River Migration and Vegetation

Riverside vegetation, or “riparian buffers”, provides wildlife habitat, maintains water quality, and reduces flood damage. Human activity can negatively affect these services, and monitoring this vegetation over time can be costly and resource-intensive. Researchers at SUNY ESF have developed a new way of mapping river channels and vegetation that uses open-source remote-sensing software, using the Genesee River in New York to develop this method. Their method greatly improves our ability to monitor this important resource over time with over 90% accuracy.

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Radioactive exclusion zone or restoration at work? Insights from the re-wilding of Chernobyl

In 1986 a nuclear disaster rocked Belarus and forced thousands of people to abandon their homes for fear of radiation exposure. Now, removed from the impacts of human settlements, wildlife are returning to the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ). In a new study, researchers studied the raptors in the CEZ to test re-wilding and ask the question: can removing humans from a landscape help restore the natural environments? And like all things in ecology, the answer is more complicated than it seems but offers a glimmer of hope for re-wilding endeavors in this Decade on Ecological Restoration.

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Increasing Temperatures and Decreasing Insect Populations

Without insects, we wouldn’t have all of the edible plants that we rely on as important parts of our diets and entire ecosystems would be in trouble. Despite their importance, insects face many threats, including climate change. Through a literature review, a group of scientists found that increasing temperatures due to climate change and the resulting ecosystem changes are a leading cause of insect population declines globally. Some species have disappeared completely. However, different species respond to climate change differently. Monitoring and understanding their responses can help us prevent their loss.

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Helping a vulnerable rabbit species hop along with non-invasive genetic sampling

Many species face harsh challenges to persist in a human modified world. In order to design and implement conservation plans to support these imperiled species, we need to study wild populations. Advancements in genetics have made it easier to monitor wild populations and obtain relevant data to make informed choices regarding management and conservation policies. Check out this ebite to learn more about the conservation genetics of the New England cottontail rabbits.

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The red eared invaders spread across Bulgaria

Red-eared sliders are freshwater turtles that are recognized as one of the world’s most invasive species. Millions of turtles were introduced globally via the pet market in the 1990s. Because of that, many turtles have established populations outside of their native ranges in the United States. Check out this ebite to learn more about the turtles first arrival and continuing spread in Bulgaria.

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