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Science crowdsourcing – ecology

Help scientists track plant and animal cycles:

The USA-National Phenology Network (USA-NPN) — a University of Arizona, Tucson-based group of scientists and citizens that monitors the seasonal cycles of plants and animals — is calling for volunteers to help track the effect of climate change on the environment.

The group is launching a national program encouraging citizen volunteers to observe seasonal changes among plants and animals, like flowering, migration and egg-laying. They can then log in and record their observations online at the USA-NPN website.

“The program is designed for people interested in participating in climate change science, not just reading about it,” said Jake Weltzin, executive director of the USA-NPN and a scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey.

Phenology is the study of the climate’s influence on animal and plant life cycles. Climate change can affect these cyclical patterns and put certain species of plants and animals in danger.

Having a large volunteer base to help track these changes enables researchers to predict the effects of global climate change on plants, animals and ecosystems, said Mark D. Schwartz, chair of the USA-NPN board of directors. The data can be used to predict wildfires, droughts and pollen production.

If interested, go to USA National Phenology Network to sign up and participate:

The USA National Phenology Network brings together citizen scientists, government agencies, non-profit groups, educators and students of all ages to monitor the impacts of climate change on plants and animals in the United States. The network harnesses the power of people and the Internet to collect and share information, providing researchers with far more data than they could collect alone.

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We are looking for volunteers to help us monitor some 200 plant species found across the United States. This effort will eventually expand to include animals and physical phenomena, such as bird migrations and ice out on ponds. Please explore our website to learn more about USA-NPN. Better yet, click “Participate” to join us!

Comments

  1. #1 DNLee
    March 15, 2009

    I posted about this, too today. It’s a great citizen program. I signed up.

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