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Project BudBurst

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:33 am
by knobren
Volunteers Across Nation to Track Climate Clues in Spring Flowers


http://www.windows.ucar.edu/citizen_science/budburst/

Project BudBurst

Join us in collecting important climate change data on the timing of leafing and flowering in your area through Project BudBurst! This national field campaign targets native tree and flower species across the country. With your help, we will be compiling valuable environmental and climate change information around the United States.

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 1:39 pm
by Theodore
Certainly interesting from the viewpoint of observing nature, completely worthless for tracking anything except perhaps local climate changes. Global / national temperature shifts are measured in fractions of a degree, you're unlikely to see more than a few degree of change at most over a 100-year period, even with worst-case projections.

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 2:10 pm
by knobren
Shifts in species' ranges and flowering times are already being observed.

For example, http://www.ecosystems.umb.edu/LocalPlantResponse.pdf

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 2:36 pm
by knobren
Other examples:

Creatures of climate change: Critters shift in Michigan
http://postcarboncities.net/node/125

Climate changes shift springtime
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5279390.stm

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:44 pm
by knobren
You know, I was thinking and this sounds like a good way to do alot of biology around, and the survey would help make it interesting and make them feel like they are contributing to a larger project.

Some ideas:
(I wrote this outline in Word hoping that the html formating would transfer when I pasted it here, but it worked in some places and not in others - sorry)

1. Sexual reproduction in flowering plants
a. Flower anatomy
b. Pollination
1) Wind pollination
2) Roles of animal pollinators (insects, bats, birds, etc.)
a) Mutualism for some pollinators and plants
b) Parasitism by insects that break into flowers for nectar, but don't pollinate the plants and by some plants that trick insects into pollinating them without giving them a sugary reward or even killing them afterwards
c. Seed anatomy
d. Germination

2. Asexual reproduction in plants
a. Bulbs, corms
b. Stolons (runners) (i.e. strawberry plants)
c. Rhizomes (i.e. irises, potatoes)

3. Cell division
a. Mitosis and cytokinesis for asexual reproduction and embryo growth, germination, and other growth
b. Meiosis and cytokinesis for gamete formation (eggs in carpel and sperm nuclei in pollen)

4. Ecology
a. Symbiotic relationships between organisms (mutualism, parasitism, predation, competition)
b. Food chains/food webs
c. Global warming (causes, effects, what governments, industries, and individuals can do about it)
d. What might happen if interdependent species don’t adapt the same way

(i.e. suppose a certain plant responds to day length to know when to flower, but its pollinator responds to temperature to know when to emerge from hibernation and temperature and day length are no longer overlapping cues – then the pollinator might not get food to survive, the plant might not be able to make seeds, other organisms that eat either the insect or the plant might be short of food, or organisms that use the plant for nesting sites or materials might suffer, too or a weed and the insect that eats it might get out of whack and the weed could crowd out other plant species, etc.)

5. Civics
a. Global warming
1) Global impacts of our choices
2) Comparison of what various countries are doing about it
3) How changing weather patterns might impact crop production, seafood, endangered species, flooding, draughts, hurricanes, etc.

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:06 pm
by knobren
By the way, "Sexual Encounters of the Floral Kind" is an older video that is wonderful for showing different relationships between flowers and pollinators! Students usually love it.

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:04 pm
by Theodore
What I've often wondered is, while x species is busy dying off in z area because of warming or cooling, is it correspondingly reproducing in a new area? The media always emphasize the former, while ignoring the latter. Sort of like complaining about eroding beachfront property, while ignoring the fact that massive tracts of desert are now getting rainfall :)

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:08 pm
by knobren
It depends on the species. Polar bears are dying and I don't think they have anywhere to go. They depend on the ice sheets to raise their young and some of the young are drowning because the ice is melting too soon.

If a new species enters an area, the species that are currently there may not be able to compete effectively for resources or food chains may be distrupted. Some species don't reproduce very quickly, so they might not be able to move fast enough either.

Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:21 pm
by knobren
You could also have kids do a research project identifying and counting pollinators. You could compare the pollinators on different kinds of flowers or see if there is a difference in the kinds of pollinators at different times of day or at the same time of day, but on days with different temperatures. If you did the last one, you could also compare temperatures in Farenheit and Celcius.