Is the future of biodiversity in the cards?

This Phylo trading card deck works like Pokémon, but it features actual species. ©Megan Callahan

The Phylo trading card game has become popular since its launch in 2010, but researchers found it can it also be an effective teaching tool. The game works like Pokémon, but it uses real species — from white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) to red-eyed vireos (Vireo olivaceus) — and events like red tide and disease outbreaks instead of imaginary creatures and situations. Researchers compared people playing the card game to others using slideshows. Both methods improved participants’ understanding of ecosystems and species, they found, but those who played Phylo were able to recall more species. They were also more motivated to donate the money they received for participating in the project to address environmental problems.

Read the study in Palgrave Communications.