By: Emma Bode
Each year, 8,000,000 tons of plastic enter marine environments*. An astonishing 80% of this plastic comes from terrestrial sources. Among this plastic are tiny plastic fragments and fibers, five millimeters or smaller, known as microplastics. How are these minuscule pollutants entering our waterways?
At the headwaters of the Missouri River, the Gallatin Watershed provides a great opportunity to observe the effects of urbanization on freshwater microplastic levels. Through the Adventure Scientists’ Gallatin Microplastics Initiative, volunteers like myself collect water samples from a multitude of sites across the watershed. These samples are then analyzed for their microplastic content.
A couple weeks ago, Adventure Scientists founder and Executive Director Gregg Treinish spoke at the 2017 National Geographic Explorers Festival. The National Geographic Society celebrates exploration every day of the year, but during Explorers Festival they bring together the most fascinating and innovative scientists, conservationists, explorers, and storytellers to share—with one another, and with the world—how their discoveries and ideas are creating change for the better.
Gregg spoke on the Citizens for Science panel about inspiring the next generation of explorers and activating citizen scientists around the world to help answer critical questions. We hope you enjoy!
By: Michelle Toshack
How robust are butterfly populations in wilderness areas? What management strategies can be adopted to address the conservation of these species? These are some of the questions that Adventure Scientists is tackling with our Conserving Biodiversity - Pollinators project. We’ve pulled together four peer-reviewed articles* that helped us understand how to best approach this effort. They serve as important background reading on current issues around butterfly conservation.
Phenology Asynchrony in Plant-Butterfly Interactions Associated with Climate: a Community-Wide Perspective. 2016. Isabel Donoso, Constantí Stefanescu, Alejandro Martínez-Abraín and Anna Traveset. Oikos.
This article investigates timing mismatch between butterfly emergence and their host plants in the Mediterranean. They looked at the different factors that may affect this mismatch, such as aridity and temperature. Many butterfly species, including both generalists and specialists, are vulnerable to phenology mismatch. This will continue to have an impact on butterfly populations in the face of environmental change.
By: Dr. Katy Prudic
Butterfly caterpillars are nature’s hot dogs, which acquire large amounts of fat in order to prepare for the magical body transformation known as pupation. Birds, spiders, wasps, mammals, lizards, and even humans all dine on juicy caterpillars. I can say from personal experience that some caterpillars are nutty, some are buttery, and many are excellent with garlic. The name butterfly is quite appropriate for the caterpillar stage.
In January 2017, Corinne Gardner arrived in southern Chile to the interdisciplinary Parque Etnobotánical Omora research station. While there she collected freshwater samples for Adventure Scientists Global Microplastics Initiative, guided English and Spanish citizen-science nature hikes in the world’s most southern forest, and charted a new trail with a sprightly expedition team in Los Dientes (Teeth) de Navarino. Here she shares a few of her favorite shots from the experience.
"Could the world’s most southern austral forest contain microplastic pollutants? I signed up as an Adventure Scientist volunteer to find out." - Corinne Gardner
By: Dylan Jones, Part 2 of 2
I wake up at 6:00 a.m., comfortable in my sleeping bag despite the stiff bed. I take a deep breath and smell the coffee. Although our expedition in the Patagonian backcountry is complete, Nadine maintains her role as early riser and team chef. I stumble out into the living room and rub my eyes. The incredible scene comes into focus through floor-to-ceiling windows: Frothy waves lap at a pebble beach several meters from the porch. Undulating turquoise waters influenced by dynamic winds extend for tens of miles, walled in by the imposing peaks of the Northern Patagonian Ice Field.
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