Hikers use smartphones to capture fire recovery on Mt. Diablo

Written by: Lisa Stelzner

Primary Source: Daily Dose of Science Blog

In September 2013, a 3,000 acre fire burned on Mt. Diablo in the San Francisco Bay Area. Plants are now starting to sprout in the burned area, and a citizen science group wants hikers to use their smartphones to take pictures of the vegetation recovery and succession. What’s cool about this is that they set up metal brackets on signs so that everyone can place their phone in the exact same place to capture the exact same view.  People can upload their photos to Twitter, Instagram or Flicker with a certain hashtag. This can help scientists monitor the plant and animal species that appear after the fire without having scientists sitting on the trails all the time.I’d like to encourage my Bay Area friends who go hiking on Mt. Diablo to try it!


One of the photo brackets on Mt. Diablo.  Photo credit:  Lauren Sommer/KQED
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Lisa Stelzner
I'm a plant biology PhD student studying monarch butterflies in Michigan, but I'm interested in lots of other types of science, too. I am interested in how breeding monarch butterflies choose their habitat based on floral species richness and abundance. Few studies have been conducted on optimal foraging theory when it involves an organism searching for two different kinds of resources, and butterflies are an ideal study system to investigate this, since many species are ovipositing specialists and only lay eggs on one species of hostplant, but are feeding generalists and nectar from a broad variety of flowering forbs.