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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more