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Citizen Science: Using Ginkgo Leaves to Track Earth's Changing Climate

WhenSaturday, January 27, 2018 - 10:00am

Natural History Museum

Event Location

Ground Floor, Q?rius Lab


Free, but registration is requested. CLICK HERE to register.


Researchers at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. need your help to track climate change over millions of years – using only plants!

Despite having evolved before dinosaurs and having faced three mass extinctions, Ginkgo trees are still living today. Our project “Fossil Atmospheres” is creating a record of how the atmosphere has changed through time by observing how the cells of ginkgo leaves have changed as well. With your help, we can collect valuable data to learn about the Earth’s ancient atmosphere.

Join us and meet paleobiologists Dr. Rich Barclay and Dr. Laura Soul. Rich and Laura will explain how leaves can be used to estimate atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, which help us understand past temperature and environmental changes in Earth’s geologic history. As citizen scientists, you will examine modern and fossil leaves to mark microscopic features related to atmospheric changes in carbon dioxide (CO2). By improving our ability to quantify the effects of CO2 on climate, you will be contributing to the basic science underlying projections of future environmental change.

If you have a laptop, please bring it with you on the day of the event for your personal use in the effort to collect leaf data using an online tool. For participants who do not have a laptop, the Museum will have a limited number available for use.

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