Celebrating Community Science Month – How you can get involved

If you are a science enthusiast looking for ways to become more involved, community science is the perfect activity for you and your friends and family. Community scientists are people interested in science who volunteer to make observations, collect data, and report findings. Recently, community scientists in Ohio worked with experts to track declining native ladybugs in their backyards. April is global community science month and the perfect time to get involved with projects like these!

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Can Human Infrastructure Improve Biodiversity?

Electrical towers are dotted across landscapes around the world, bringing power to people in cities and the country. But can these towers be used to help wildlife? In a new study, researchers in Sevilla, Spain modified the base of these towers to attract wildlife. They found that not only do these man-made structures attract wildlife, but they can also act as wildlife corridors — providing safe passage for critters as they move across human-modified landscapes.

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Dead and Gone? – The loss of decaying wood communities in urban forests

Forests are beautiful. From flourishing plants to tranquil wildlife to decaying logs, all parts are beautiful, vital, and connected. Dead logs are responsible for maintaining a healthy forest thanks to teams of fungi and wood-dependent insects inside. These organisms break down plant material to add nutrients back to the ecosystem. Forests are essential for human health and well-being, but human disturbance could threaten these ecosystems. To keep our forests healthy and beautiful, we depend on these decomposers, but can they rely on us?

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Tackling Tradeoffs: Tree Functional Groups and Ecosystem Services in Tree Planting

Deciding which trees to replant in cities stressed by climate change and pests can be daunting, but considering the traits of trees and the “functional groups” they belong to can help. In Québec City, computer simulations showed that a “stratified” approach to replanting that aims to evenly represent species of different functional groups did not increase ecosystem services as much as a “conifer-focused” strategy, suggesting a tradeoff between representation of functional groups and ecosystem services provided. Even so, the stratified strategy increased ecosystem services more than “business as usual” and produced the canopy least vulnerable to pests and disease.

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Puzzling Mice – City mice are better problem solvers

What’s your strategy for completing a jigsaw puzzle? Puzzles and games require problem solving and strategy. Animals also need to problem-solve to overcome challenges in their environment, but it’s not all fun and games for them. Human disturbance and constant change in cities can make for really challenging conditions for city animals, such as mice. City and county striped field mice will have to prove their problem-solving wit by sliding, lifting, carrying, and digging their way through eight obstacles.

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Cat-agorizing Cat Owners to Reduce Environmental Harm caused by Domestic House Cats

According to conservationists, domestic cats belong indoors for their safety and the safety of other animals. But, some cat owners disagree, causing rifts between pro-outdoor and pro-indoor cat parents. In a new study, researchers interviewed cat owners across the United Kingdom and cat-agorized cat owners into six distinct groups. Depending on the cat owner’s views , conservationists may have a larger impact if they target their message towards the emotional connection owners have with their feline friends.

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