What All the Buzz is About: Comparing Citizen Scientist and Professional Data Quality in Mosquito Monitoring

Executive summary: Citizen science efforts are on the rise for monitoring mosquitoes, but are these methods as good as professional data collection by scientists? Nadja Pernat and her colleagues evaluate data collected by scientists and citizens in Germany and find that both types of data collection have their strengths and weaknesses, but they complement each other well. Together, data collected by scientists and citizens create a strong mosquito monitoring program.

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Will climate change bring cultural change?

Sometimes science isn’t enough to protect a species. Sometimes, culture is necessary. People are likely to care most about protecting species they find culturally important. But are these culturally important species the most threatened due to climate change? A case study from Costa Rica offers some insights into this question.

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What does the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration mean for you?

The Decade of Ecological Restoration is nearly here! The process of helping ecosystems regain function and biodiversity is a new and complex field. It requires collaboration across academic disciplines and requires connecting the needs of humans and ecosystems. So, what can restoration ecologists learn from sociologists to bridge the gap between humans and nature and help make the coming decade a success?

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Clues to the Past – What fossils tell us about ancient animal behavior

Hundreds of millions of years ago, Earth was teeming with life. Since humans weren’t around back then, we have to rely on fossils for snapshots into that world. Fossils give clues on how animals and their behaviors have evolved throughout geological time and can help with today’s conservation efforts. But what can fossils tell us about animal behavior, and when were some of the earliest behaviors? That’s a mystery worth digging into!

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New GIS-based Methods Allow More Accurate Estimation of Conservation Costs

The total costs of land conservation includes costs of acquisition, maintenance, preservation, logistics, and sometimes litigation. Many time, these costs have been far above what was budgeted for them, partly due to flawed methods of estimating those costs in the first place. New mapping techniques show first, the flaws in these methods, and second, the potential to estimate the actual costs far more accurately. This will allow for more efficient planning, and a lower likelihood of conservation projects encountering unexpected costs.

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Joining forces: The role of the natural and social sciences in addressing the Global Nitrogen Problem

A wealth of scientific knowledge exists on the role of nitrogen in the natural and agricultural world, with research dating back over a century. Nitrogen sustains life and has enabled modern food production to keep up with the demands of the growing human population. However, we have reached a critical state where the use of synthetic nitrogen needs to be regulated due to the multitude of environmental impacts. The problem is that the effect nitrogen has on the planet is rarely discussed outside of scientific circles. With the recent development of international campaigns to address the global nitrogen problem, it’s time to put nitrogen research into practice with the help of social science.

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Plastic Pollution and Penguins?

Many people may see plastic pollution as a local issue, but did you know that small pieces of plastic have made their way to super remote locations? Plastic pollution has been documented in Antarctica, one of the most remote locations on the planet, for decades. Now though, scientists are finding out that microplastics, which are harmful to marine life, are also making their way to Antarctica. Researchers documented similar levels of microplastics in Antarctica as other, less remote locations globally. While many come from marine industry, we can all help solve the problem by putting less plastic into the environment.

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Can a meme save a species?

Memes are everywhere. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter; the world of social media is bursting with amusing images embellished with a witty caption. Memes stay on the pulse of changing cultures and reflect social ideas and current events. But can they also help encourage the protection of species that don’t commonly garner media headlines?

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Industrial Revolution Pollution Suppresses Succession in Lichen Communities

Lichens are indicators of air pollution and ecosystem health. In London parks, researchers found that historical pollution may have decreased the lichen diversity. Sulfur emissions from the Industrial Revolution and modern nitrogen emissions stall the growth of lichens on urban trees hinting at larger effects on ecosystem health.

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