Getting the (Insta)Story on Ecotourism: Using Social Media to Determine Protected Area Visitation

Have you posted on social media today? If you did, you’re not alone. All around the world people are using social media apps, and many of these apps are recording data as we speak. Though this thought might seem a little overwhelming, all of this data makes for a wealth of information that scientists can use for research purposes. Over the past decade, social media has started to become a huge source of data for scientists. One study published in 2017 aimed to find out whether this social media data could help researchers determine what factors were most important to tourists when choosing to visit protected areas in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Pesticides and Fertilizers: A toxic relationship that is stressful for frogs

Large-scale agriculture utilizes a myriad of chemicals to increase crop yields and profits. The effects of these chemical mixtures can be unpredictable once they are introduced into the environment, especially when interacting with vulnerable animal groups like amphibians.

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For urban snails, yellow is the new pink

Pavement, smog, and lack of shade can increase temperatures in cities by up to 6ºF above the surrounding rural and suburban areas. We know the higher temperatures directly impact many species of animals, but is it possible that they could also affect the course of evolution and change the physiology of future generations? To answer this question, researchers from the Netherlands used a popular citizen science platform to gather data about the appearance of snails throughout a wide range of habitats.

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Gardeners for Biodiversity: How Surveys can Help Quantify Diversity in Urban Areas

Backyard gardens can boast surprising levels of biodiversity. Quantifying the diversity of many small gardens spread out across an urban area, however, can be difficult for scientists. In this study, researchers proposed a survey in which garden-owners were asked to give basic information about their gardens. From the responses, a statistical model was designed to determine the actual number of species present.

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The Hunger Gaps: when flower supply fails to meet bee demand

Wild bees are indispensable pollen-transporters that support and maintain diverse plant communities in nature, but in discussions about the well-being of bees, they tend to lose the spotlight to their honeybee cousins. One issue where both wild bees and honeybees are struggling, however, is in facing the lack of food continuity throughout the growing season. Mapping the “hunger gaps” for foraging bees, and working to close such gaps, is a key issue for bee conservation.

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A mosquito’s feet think you stink: Researchers discover what makes DEET the most effective insect repellent on the market

When covered in widely used insect repellent DEET, a mosquito’s mouth thinks you are good enough to eat. But their legs would beg to differ. A recent study by scientist at Rockefeller University finally explains why DEET is the most effective bug repellent.

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Ecological grief: In my feelings along the Gulf Coast

Aldo Leopold stated “One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.” He meant that those of us with deep connections to the natural environment, whether that be a farmer, fisher, or ecologist, are more aware of declining ecological health. We notice that there are less birds. We notice all the dead turtles along the road. We notice that it hasn’t rained in weeks and all the plants are crying. The unprecedented changes stemming from climate change have gained an increasing amount of people’s attention leading to the formation of the term ecological grief. The verdict is out. Climate change is making many of us depressed.

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