Imagine a jellyfish, stick its head on the bottom and let the ‘bell’ (the jellyfish’s body) grow really big. Then let hundreds of mini-jellyfish come out of its skin like a field of flowers and that is what soft coral is. Turn the jelly-like body into rock and let it grow in different shapes and that is what hard coral is. Put them together and you have the reef; photosynthetic, jellyfish-covered, rock-building skin. Shrink yourself down to the size of a copepod and you can enter a real-life scene from Avatar. Barry the Bommie, Normanby Island, Guardian: Madison Ogilvie
For the developers at New York start-up Networked Organisms, smartphones are the butterfly nets of the 21st Century. Their tool, Project Noah, lets people upload photos of plants and wildlife around them, creating a map of the natural world and contributing to scientific research in the process.
Bespectacled scientists of yore would carry around hefty field guides, made up of hundreds of pages of text and photos. But these days, smartphone owners have a lighter option: an app called Project Noah, which aims to help people identify plants and animals as well as collect data from "citizen scientists" about where certain species are located.
Project Noah enables us to be part of a more focused online community where we can learn more about wildlife around us and contribute to scientific research. It pulls participants into deeper, more meaningful engagement by enabling people to go on “missions” to collectively map changes based on sightings.
A modern invention that may also hold the key to saving species in the future. Project Noah is a global study that encourages nature lovers to document the wildlife they encounter, using a purpose built phone app and web community. In addition to the virtual "collection" of species, Project Noah encourages citizen science by linking up with existing surveys including the International Spider Survey and the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network.