The Global Change App

And as if I wasn’t busy enough during my PhD, I went ahead and helped create The Global Change app – an interactive teaching tool that explains the role of the stomata in the global carbon and water cycles. If you’re keen to find out how human activities impact global cycles download the app for free on iTunes and Google Play. It’s also computer literate.

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The ‘Global Change’ app is a tablet application that explains the link between the carbon and water cycles in the stomata of terrestrial vegetation, and the effects of global change on their function. Stomata are microscopic pores on the surface of plants where carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapour are exchanged simultaneously. No other biological organ has such a profound effect on global mass and energy transfers. Human activities are increasing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, which causes surface temperatures to rise and can influence the amount of water and CO2 available to plants. Consequently, the physiological function of stomata are being altered, which in turn feeds back onto the global carbon and water cycles [climate change].

The app connects the biotic and abiotic systems involved in the cycling of carbon and water through space and time, and illustrates how the cycles have changed since the pre-industrial era to now. The content is concise and informative, with graphics and video to illustrate complex ecological components in an approachable and meaningful way for students. Teachers and students can further explore each component of the cycles and climate change feedbacks illustrated in the app through links to up-to-date scientific research and useful resources. The in-built twitter functionality, with the #ecofact tag means users can share their new knowledge with friends, family and peers to create a social conversation around climate change issues. Follow @theGCApp for updates, news and more #ecofacts!

The app is free to download from iTunes and the Google Play stores.

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Australasian Seabird Research Group

Here in New Zealand, we live in the “seabird capital of the world”, where more species congregate to breed than anywhere else. Although experiencing this diversity makes us lucky as seabird researchers, it also means we have a great responsibility. Seabirds face many challenges in our changing world, from fisheries by-catch at sea to non-native predators on their breeding grounds, and threats along their migration routes. What better way to confront these issues and come up with solutions, than to work together?

In an effort to encourage collaboration between seabird researchers in Australasia, the Australasian Seabird Group and Ornithological Society of New Zealand are working to put a seabird research map together.

No matter if you’re a new student, a community group, or a seabird guru, we’d love to hear about your research. We’re using new technology called “thundermaps” to map out seabird research activity, much like the “Kereru Count” has mapped out Kereru sightings. Think it’s too complicated? Well, we’ve tried to make it easy by walking you through step by step here: How to pin your research NZSeabirdResearchMap.

If you’re interested in keeping in touch with other seabird researchers, please leave us your email. Also, find us on twitter @Aus_NZ_seabirds or on facebook at the Australasian Seabird Group homepage.
If you have any questions, let us know: r.buxton@mun.ca, Nicholas.Carlile@environment.nws.gov.au, barry.baker@latitude42.com.au, sborrelle@aut.ac.nz

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