"Making the Tricorder a Reality: Developing a handheld DNA Detection Device for timber, fish and/or wildlife sample identification in the field"
Park rangers, customs officers, and law enforcement agents are at the front-lines of wildlife and timber trafficking issues and need new technologies that provide durable advantages over traffickers. Additionally, supply chain managers and corporate seafood buyers need ways to inspect their supply chain quickly and accurately. To meet this need, we are creating a low-cost, modular, portable DNA barcode scanner, designed for the developing world, that can identify wood, fish, and/or wildlife product samples in the field to the genus and species level without access to taxonomic experts or a laboratory. The device will utilize the Barcode of Life Database (BOLD) as a reference library, and we are creating disposable identification assays which can be used for sample species identification. Such a device will give front-end law enforcement agents and supply chain inspectors the ability to quickly and precisely inspect and ID products, and decide whether further analysis necessary.
"Shooting lasers at frogs to help them beat the chytrid fungus"
Many fungi have the property that they fluoresce when hit by ultraviolet (UV) light - like a white t-shirt under a black light at a rave. Farmers use devices based on this principle to diagnose whether fungal infections have infiltrated their wheat crops or vineyards. Bat biologists have begun using UV light to detect fungal infections among bats. FrogScope would extend this idea to frogs and the chytrid fungus. By shining UV light on frogs and observing whether their skin fluoresces, FrogScope will detect the presence or absence of chytrid instantly and without touching the frog. By using a portable version of FrogScope, biologists could track the spread of the disease in the field, and customs officials could quickly scan amphibians crossing borders to detect infection and eliminate new pathways and introduction of the disease. We have experimentally determined that the chytrid fungus in isolation does fluoresce strongly when exposed to UV light, an important proof of principle.
"Hi-Tech Animal Spying"
The Camera Trap 3.0 aims to modernize camera traps by including computer vision, wireless connectivity, solar power, and a wide angle camera. These technological advances will allow researchers to focus on their experiments rather than troubleshoot their gear. The computer vision software automatically selects relevant captured images, ignoring false triggers and making gathered data more reliable. Wireless connectivity will allow researchers to access their pictures remotely, and solar power will extend the camera trap’s battery life. A wide-angle lens will extend the field of vision, making it easier to capture images of elusive species. The Camera Trap 3.0 will be built using open-source technology, enabling future users to add sensors and modules according to their needs.
"Moving fish from where they shouldn't be, to your face."
Source invasive fish from existing fish suppliers that already catch them, and have them process and dropship the fish to online customers. Provide a national market with a national product offering. Leverage existing free marketing provided by NPR, GQ, and other media outlets encouraging consumers to eat specific invasive fish, by name, by being #1 in searches for those fish.
"Match making green-minded people with green-practicing businesses through a "Green Yelp"."
Every day we make frequent purchasing choices. Think of the coffee, restaurants, groceries, clothing, travel, and other goods and services we spend money on – often with little thought to the environmental consequences of these decisions. If an increasing segment of these choices can be directed toward businesses that incorporate “green” thinking into their practices, we can begin to bend the curve of current consumption and production practices towards environmental sustainability. Like a "Green Yelp", the Find Green App will enable users to find and promote businesses that demonstrate sustainable practices (e.g. recycling, reusable dishware, etc.) starting with coffee shops, cafes and restaurants where customers can easily observe green practices. The Find Green App is modeled after the numerous user-interface based rating systems for restaurants and other businesses (e.g. Yelp). However, in contrast, the Find Green rating will provide a rating of sustainability based on users’ responses to a series of simple questions tied to sustainability (e.g. Was the food provided on reusable plates? Was at least ½ the menu organic or locally sourced?). The responses will be the basis of a combined rating for the business that will be viewed as one to five green leaves. The economic value of...
"Bringing innovators together to make stuff to save the planet. AKA making this website."
Our Tribe needs to grow, and it needs a new place to do so. This website is being built to help people who have ideas for solving conservation problems - to turn those concepts into solutions, and those solutions into self-sustaining products or even companies. To guide and work on these projects, this Digital Makerspace is being built to support conservationists but importantly also to bring together innovators, solvers, makers, and other non-traditional conservation partners (technologists, engineers, etc). We will be focused on connecting these people according to interest, capability and capacity, and providing them the place and tools to facilitate and coordinate their work. The platform will also provide a place for CXL’s staff to help grow project ideas into self-sustaining companies and its instigators into able business leaders. A conservation technology accelerator program is also being supported by the platform.
"Using facial recognition technology to combat Internet-based wildlife trafficking."
We are developing chimpanzee facial recognition software to survey the Internet for photographic evidence of live chimpanzee trafficking. The software is still in its early stages and needs to be tested. When fully developed the software, downloaded as an app on a cell phone, could have multiple applications, including: (1) searching the Internet for evidence of chimp trafficking, (2) creating a photo database of captive chimps to gain an accurate population count and track movements, (3) collecting evidence for illegal trade prosecutions, and (4) assisting with wild population studies. Eventually this technology will be expanded to recognize additional species.
"A source of protein for your source of protein"
KnipBio has developed a technology platform that uses a set of naturally occurring microbe strains to convert ethanol, methanol and other abundant, low-cost feed stocks into premium, nutritious, single-cell protein called KnipBio Meal (KBM). KBM combines the attributes of protein-packed fishmeal and carotenoids into a single effective, affordable feed replacement that offers a transformative breakthrough in the future of responsible and sustainable aquaculture. Our feeds can be tailored for specific fish species because our technology platform enables us to create strains of our microbe that produce high value products like taurine, carotenoids, PHB and other additives that conventional fishmeal does not include.
"After a couple of months of growing spirulina, the water in our tanks is not as hospitable anymore. We are searching for a low cost way to rehabilitate it."
Based on our current research and work with local universities, we believe that a multi-stage water treatment solution will be needed. Its steps would include: removal of solid particles and residual biomass, probably thru some form of filtration; digesting or removing the dissolved organic matter in the water; possibly adjusting or shifting the ion balances; filtering again; sterilization of any micro-organisms.
"Key Conservation is helping conservationists receive critical funding and increased global support through a mobile app that provides real-time updates on day-to-day campaigns."
The Key Conservation mobile app will have a scrolling feed that updates as needs from conservationists occur globally. The app provides three ways for conservation organizations to get help and three ways for supporters to give it. The first feature allows supporters to give funds to a conservation project to help with immediate or long-term needs. The second feature is Skilled Impact which enables supporters to give their professional skills to help conservation projects. For example, if a patrol vehicle breaks down it could be fixed for free by a mechanic or a graphic designer could help with an outreach campaign. Tapping into these skills could save conservation organizations thousands of dollars while creating a lifelong connection with a supporter. Lastly, the In-Person feature allows supporters to be alerted to real-time volunteer opportunities in their area through geo-based push notifications. This feature updates automatically as people travel around the world, alerting them to the work being done within a customized range. For example, if conservations need help lifting a beached dolphin or want to alert local supporters that they have sea turtle hatchlings they are releasing to the ocean they can send out a push notification to supporters within a...
"Organizing saltwater public aquariums & hobbyists to support captive breeding, reduce harmful trade, diversify zoox samples in asst evolution research & engage the nextgen of diy climate leaders"
Organize hobbyists who genuinely care about the ocean to take the lead in advocating for the new direction the saltwater aquarium industry takes towards reducing the impact on the ocean, broadening our understanding of captive species breeding habits, acting in conjunction with responsible saltwater aquarium businesses, public aquariums, zoos, universities, marine sanctuaries, relevant government regulators, and other ocean conservation efforts such as curbing use of cyanide, but most importantly engaging and empowering the next generation of climate science leaders, the digital diy generation if you will. The group can a) advocate for discounts with businesses sourcing captive bred species in exchange for a dedicated market share, b) share samples of genetics from corals and zooxanthellae in hobbyist tanks that have become particularly resilient, and may offer a more diverse pool of resilient coral/zooxanthellae strains resistant to climate change, c) catalogue hobbyist held species and tank conditions, sharing meta-data for academic research, d) and gauge hobbyist interest in activism efforts, and honestly there's no reason one of the big ocean conservation orgs or universities or institutions couldn't kick in some seed some money to kick start the next generation of diy climate science advocates, hooking them while they're young and in the...
"A pheromone attraction and DNA sampling strategy to detect invasive mammals on islands"
The proposed solution involves identifying species-specific pheromones to be used as attractants, and low-cost hair-snare "traps" to extract DNA for species identification. Pheromone trapping is a common tool used to detect invasive insects, and the same technologies could greatly improve the accuracy and efficiency of invasive mammal detections on islands. When embedded within a broader strategy that makes use of low-cost and low-tech hair-snare sampling techniques, as well as recent innovations in field-based DNA processing for species identification, there exists the potential to revolutionize invasive mammal (and other vertebrate) detection and monitoring across the globe.
" Imagine being able to track your marine friend cheaper and with more capabilities"
Think of this project as a high-end Raspberry Pi specifically designed for marine animal tags. This project aims to utilize the explosion of consumer IoT to increase usability and reduce cost: Companies such as Sparkfun offer the same sensors used in current tags for a fraction of the cost to develop a custom printed circuit board. This enables modularity and customizability. Additionally, these companies offer peripheral products like Qi wireless charging which exponentially increase the usability of the tag. This project is a platform: The central brain and communications module are developed specifically to maintain high scientific standards, but also to physically accommodate custom sensors. This allows new, novel sensors to be developed in parallel. For example, a reflective pulse oximetry unit (think FitBit HR monitor) can be scientifically studied without the need to build a whole new tag.
"Using data, we put a map that showed the acidity of soil over top of a map that showed where the trees have died. We think that if we lower the soil's acidity we can help the trees to not get sick."
Research papers from similar fungal parasites in sweet potatoes were used as supporting data for the conclusion that a pH of 5.5 creates favorable conditions for Ceratocystis fungus. Soil pH data and Ohi’a tree death data were used to develop a correlation between tree death and acidic soil conditions. From what we could find, pH data has not been published in the last 32 years. In order to confirm that pH is indeed a vector that affects Ohi’a susceptibility, low cost and small scale experiments should be conducted comparing trees exposed to infection in acidic soil as compared to neutral and basic soil. If it is found that pH is not a factor, it at the very least can be eliminated as a factor that affects proliferation as it has not yet been considered in current research. As part of our deployment strategy, we would like to leverage programs and “citizen science” tools such as Inaturalist, The Green Program, Bioblitz, and Kupu Hawaii to collect pH and soil data. These programs could also be used to implement strategies to reduce environmental stress on trees that makes them susceptible to infection. These strategies include providing crucial nutrients to the trees and amending...
"Using mosquitos to help us understand the makeup of an ecosystem."
Place a network of light & gravid-water mosquito traps around an island. Leave them for some time and then return for them. Sort the mosquitos and identify bloodfed individuals. Then use an iDNA assay to get a broad DNA view of all the species that those mosquitos have fed on! This approach should allow you to identify if there is or isn't a specific vertebrate species - say, cats or rats - in an ecosystem. Could be paired with the DNA Barcode Scanner to do that DNA identification in the field. Could only be used in areas with a bloodsucking parasite: leeches, mosquitoes, or ticks.
"A selective, safe and low cost method to control the Asian carp, the fish that jump out the water and slap you on the face."
MJSTI proved a selective, safe and low cost carp pesticide on Koi, common carp. The formulation kills by digestion. No active ingredient was found in the water and the fish had a deformity consistent with the active ingredient. The formulation consists of FDA ingredients that are EPA registered pesticides. If the formulation is not consumed by the fish, it will sink to the sediment and degrade to safe levels of chemicals already found in our rivers and lakes. The average raw material cost is ~$1 per pound and 1/2th to 1/30th of the USGS antimycin A/beeswax formulation. Since only EPA registered ingredients are used, the EPA formulation is for a new application, a fast and low cost fee.
"Corals keep algal slave colonies to grow their food but slaves are starved of vital iron; intake of iron chelate could save them both but treatment not yet approved by doctors, corals bleach and die. "
Scientists believe coral expel their zooxanthellae because the water is too hot, but this would go against what millions of years of evolution has taught them; we believe the zoox leave the corals because of a lack of iron in seawater, as iron is essential to the photosynthetic process they need to survive. This iron deficiency combined with too much light and higher water temperature forces the zoox algae to leave their coral host & looking for 'better pastures'. Many photos of bleached corals show clearly that the shaded parts of the corals still have their zoox algae and only the sun exposed parts of the corals are bleached; this demonstrates that light is the ‘trigger’, not temperature. We have designed a big ‘capsule’ that can be planted on bleaching reefs in sandy sea-bed patches between coral areas; these devices will have an iron-chelate granules core enclosed by a charcoal envelope that will allow for a slow release of the dissolved iron chelate. The surrounding corals will absorb these traces of iron and accumulate it in their flesh for later absorption by their zoox symbiont before these are stressed and abandon their ‘protectors’. Not only can coral bleaching be cured...
"Fish get sick too, so we are keeping them healthy by making vaccines using microalgae (one of their favorite foods). "
We plan overcome the current challenges facing vaccination by bio-engineering microalgae to lock the vaccine inside the biomass. Microalgae are a natural part of the fish diet, and an essential dietary element in the early development of shrimp and other finfish. The microalgal oral vaccines can be mixed with fishmeal and fed to the fish, mimicking the natural feeding process. The natural digestion process of the fish unlocks the vaccine and triggers an immune response. In addition, because the vaccine is inside the microalgae chloroplast, it is protected by a rigid cell wall and is stable in harsh environmental conditions, extending the product’s shelf life. Such an approach is sustainable, user friendly for fish farmers, and cost effective. We believe this highly affordable product will substantially lower the barriers to vaccination for low-income farmers, and will help eliminate the use of antibiotics.
"A tool that enables to more efficiently detect unwanted and illegal shipping of shark fins and other wildlife products by calculating a compliance risk score for individual shipments."
Our solution is a risk scoring tool for individual shipments based on specific shipping documents that contain the relevant information. Carriers as well as the entry and exit ports represent the bottlenecks where such trade can most efficiently be monitored. Our proposed solution takes specific data available on shipping documents and screens them against the purpose-built database to calculate a risk score of how likely a certain shipment contains shark fins. The database contains data on high risk ports of origin and destination, high risk consignees, common expressions, species scientific and common names, translations to different languages, harmonized codes from customs authorities and the WCO, blacklisted and implicated vessels, etc. and uses these metrics to calculate the risk of every single shipment that is screened against it. In a second step the platform will be expanded with a learning algorithm using positively confirmed detections as seed population to train the model. With this we aim for new insights through machine learning and additional pattern analysis to flag potentially relevant shipments for further clarifications or inspections. This allows our tool to move from a static database for queries and risk score calculations to a more sophisticated tool that analyzes patterns and flags...
"People not only like to eat shrimp, but also look at the pretty species. We want to stop over-harvest with commercial breeding including development of spawning and larva-culture protocols."
Commercial intensive propagation. The solution is to develop commercial habitats, hatchery, and production capacity. In this manner, the economic opportunity can be addressed without degrading the environment. This capacity can only exist by developing hatchery and production protocols that span the entire life-cycle from spawning to larval rearing through market delivery. The prototype will implement these protocols on a cutting edge system combining physical and mechanical filtration and habitat considerations. This prototype will focus on the Sexy Shrimp (yes, that is the actual common name, the latin name is Thor amboinensis). Methods developed are anticipated to also be applicable with adjustment to Skunk Shrimp and Firecracker Shrimp. Prototype results will be transferred to the commercial sector for production and implementation. A committed commercial partner, Sunset Creek LLC in Hampton Virginia, has already committed to commercializing this species once the prototype is complete. This approach has already shown success with Peppermint shrimp (see https://youtu.be/7FkbBdQH6B8) and Clownfish before that. The Virginia Seafood AREC team is enabled to effectively implement such multi-dimensional (bio / tech / procedures) because of their lab and funding through Virginia Tech, but that funding stops short of species conservation projects.
"The project consists of a barricade to stop plastic in the River this plastic will be removed using plastic dustbin or nets and this harvested waste will be subjected to crusher for recycling."
The solution to our problem is installing a plastic pollution collector on river. The idea is to install a barricade that will stop marine pollution then the plastic waste will be harvested using sea dustbin or similar technology and later this waste will be subjected to crusher to recycle plastic. The project will install be completed in 3 phases: The first phase as I call it research phase will be about getting observation and deciding the best possible scenario to have maximum possible impact on the situation. What does this mean? This means that first we will look for an appropriate location that is where ever we can harvest most waste that is augmenting to marine pollution. Why? Because in the limited budget we have we will not be able to recycle much of waste and thus the amount of waste we will harvest should be limited to what this plant can recycle. After the research an appropriate equipment will be ordered to harvest the waste as well as to recycle the plant The second phase which is named implementation phase. In this phase we will install the equipment and initiate the process. We will observe weather the machinery is functioning properly or...
"There's always more fish in the sea, and now you can ID them all. Whether it is a pineapple fish, a clown fish or starfish we've got you covered with our comprehensive, global fish & sealife ID App"
We will provide a taxonomically current, expert reviewed and regularly-updated field guide (online & mobile application) based on FishBase (www.fishbase.org), the World’s leading online encyclopedia of fishes. For non-scientific audiences: 1. Enable the sport fishing and diving community to increase their familiarity with the species they target or observe. 2. Enable the sport fishing & diving community to keep records of their catches/observations in a species log. 3. Provide a hub for public awareness of species specific conservation & management (e.g. IUCN codes). For scientific audiences: 1. Provide a hub for cross-validating photographic reference images. 2. Crowd-source species occurrence data tracking migrations of species (both climate driven & invasive). 3. Combat the taxonomic impediment at regional & taxonomic scales by highlighting poor species level taxonomic resolution in some areas. Using the existing database (which is translatable into a number of languages), new filters will be applied enabling users to subset the database by a range of geographical scales, followed by key species identification filters. And, using a range of methods generally applied by online shopping sites - users will be able to 'shop' for their potential species: collecting likely species into a 'shopping basket' for closer inspection, seeing what other users ended up choosing, and logging a record of...
"This project is intended to assess the impacts of ALDFG in Peru to make the case for change and build the relationship with the fishing industry that will pave the path for innovative solutions."
Engage fishers, port authorities, and government representatives in the identification of the negative impacts of current practices, and the definition of potential solutions. • Bring international expertise to share their experience in Peru in the form of fishers that have seen the negative impacts of ALDFG, authorities that have created regulations that work in the reduction of ALDFG, and corporate partners investing in recycling and the creation of innovative solutions for ALDFG. • Organise a workshop that facilitates the exchange of information between countries with a lot of experience on finding solutions for ALDFG and Peru, with the potential participation of other countries from the region. • Assess the cost/benefit of creating the necessary infrastructure to reduce and recycle ALDFG.
"collapsing the market for rhino horn, with imitation rhino horn from slaughter house waist"
My idea is to flood the market with imitation rhino horn. As rhino horn is sold as powder and is basically keratin, it is easely imitated by using cheap slaughter house waste like cow hoofs and sheep hoofs. The market can be flooded by this imitation rhino horn, using undercovers or secret service (as selling a fake product won't be legal). By flooding the market, the price will drop and end at a level where it is no longer profitable to hunt rhino's. Clearly, in the beginning this operation will be profitable too.
"Having your peanut butter and eating it: Palm Oil without the habitat destruction"
I want to grow palm oil in the desert. There have been a variety of projects in recent years that have shown that is possible to grow a wide variety of crops under desert conditions. So far there have been no studies to show how palm oil trees would fair in a high temperature environment, such as that found in Egypt, but there are a variety of techniques that are worth testing. If we could grow palm oil in the desert, the reduced environmental impact could mean it could be sold at a premium (in the same way as organic products), and may be able to side-step boycotts (particularly in the EU), allowing it to easily compete with tropically-derived oil. I would like to try and grow palm oil using slurries of sand, biochar and partially treated sewage.
"We build a place to uncover the tiny threats to King Julian, the fosa and their friends in Madagascar."
Here, we propose the establishment of a veterinary and molecular ecology laboratory in Madagascar. This laboratory would be available to and benefit a wide range of international and Malagasy researchers by offering services that would enable the timely publication of their research results. Our goal is to improve the health of endangered wild animals, guide conservation policies in Madagascar, build local expertise in molecular biology and ultimately contribute to the conservation of Madagascar’s fauna and flora.
"A fail-safe submerged floating coral propagation device for continuous restoration attempts on degraded coral reefs with built-in coral bleaching prevention capsule"
To increase the chances of success in reef restoration, artificially propagated corals should be released on the reef when they have reached a reasonable large size, and this makes it so difficult because large corals are delicate to transport over long distances. Our solution will use a 'sea-cage' originally developed for shell-fish farming which is easily adapted to be also ideally designed for coral farming. It will be made from a rectangular PVC tubes frame connected by fibreglass rods and a plastic wire mesh bed, all designed for horizontal 2D farming in sub-tidal conditions easy accessible by snorkel divers/workers. The PVC tubes making up the main frame of the cage are hollow and filled with water for greater stability; the assembled units can be set up in a long-line figuration, in series or in parallel, and are floated by supporting buoys to depths of 1.5 - 3 meters & below the warmer water layers of most tropical reefs. The cages can be seeded with small coral pieces for grow-out with easy access for maintenance and grading; once the corals have reached the required size, divers need only to throw these out of the cage into the surrounding reef and restart...
"Complex for monitoring the use and protection of aquatic bioresources (CMUPAB)"
The information Complex for monitoring the use and protection of aquatic bioresources (CMUPAB) submitted for competition solves the following problems: A) Collecting information on the status of the fishery resources in the planet from a variety of sources: - fishing vessel; - state regulatory bodies; - environmental organization; - et al. B) Analysis of the behaviour of fishing vessels (in real time and in post-processing mode) for: - movement of the fishing vessel in a given area or from the area of fishing of biological resources; - setting or sampling of fishing gear; - reloading of biological resources on Board other vessels and assessment of the expected volumes of reloading; - fishing for biological resources in the permitted area at the permitted time; - transportation of biological resources to the port; - evasion of the fishing vessel from the areas in which the fishery is controlled by state or authorized state bodies; unloading of marine ports and anticipated volume of discharge; - other violations of the conditions of fishing for biological resources in accordance with the laws of the state, whose bodies exercise control. C) Analysis of the data sets on the progress of bioresources fishing (in the mode of subsequent processing) for the subject of: - identification of the areas of the most intensive fishing...
"Onsite detection of chytrid fungus in amphibians"
The ability to detect pathogenic infection via the use of molecular techniques has been invaluable in the study of epidemiological research. However, to date, there has only been limited methodology that could adequately be implemented in the field. This project outlines a simple method of fast extraction and rapid isothermal amplification of a targeted sequence which enables accurate detection of a pathogen in this case chytrid fungusboth within a laboratory environment and while on location. Currently the most widely used assay method for testing for the presence of B. d. is via the use of qPCR however this has limitations. Firstly a number of B. d. lineages cannot...