Citizen Science at the California Academy of Sciences

By Arvind Suresh (Editor) | December 18, 2014 2:25 pm

Editors Note: This is a guest post by Alison Young, Citizen Science Engagement Coordinator and Rebecca Johnson, Citizen Science Research Coordinator at the California Academy of Sciences. It is part of a SciStarter series highlighting Citizen Science at Science Centers. The authors talk about how the Academy connects communities to their local biodiversity through citizen science with the help of iNaturalist, their technology partner. iNaturalist is also part of more than 800 citizen science projects on SciStarter. Check them out and become a naturalist yourself!

California Academy of Sciences citizen science volunteers doing long-term monitoring surveys at Pillar Point reef. (Image Credit: California Academy of Sciences)

The mission of the California Academy of Sciences is to explore, explain, and sustain the natural world. Our museum floor teaches the public about the science of the natural world around them, while our researchers work to understand the evolutionary history of life on earth, document biodiversity, and discover new species the in hotspots around the world. The aim of our citizen science program is to engage communities in Academy biodiversity research and, through this participation, increase science learning and connect people to biodiversity all around them. All of our projects focus on biodiversity discovery and documentation, and all of our projects are undertaken in conjunction with a conservation partner. We are building a community of naturalists of all ages and at the same time providing our scientists and partners with valuable data required to better understand and conserve biodiversity. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Environment

Preliminary Analysis of Project MERCURRI… a.k.a. #spacemicrobes

By Darlene Cavalier | December 17, 2014 1:51 pm

Project MERCCURI is a citizen science project to examine the diversity of microbes on Earth and on the International Space Station, led by the Eisen Lab and UC Davis, SciStarter, and the Science Cheerleaders, with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Space Florida and Nanoracks.

There are three components:

1) Swabbing shoes and cell phones and built environments to examine how bacteria differ across different types of surfaces in a building.
2) The Microbial Playoffs In Space (taking place right now and described below!) to explore how microbes from YOUR favorite team perform in the space playoffs.
3) Swabbing the inside of the International Space Station to see what kinds of bacteria lurk on the surfaces inside the International Space Station (ISS).

project merccuri patch

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Uncategorized

Citizen Science at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

By Caren Cooper | December 16, 2014 1:51 pm

“Citizen Science at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences,” is part of a SciStarter series highlighting Citizen Science at Science Centers.

People visit science museums when they are feeling curious. And when it rains. And when nieces and nephews visit, when there is a new dinosaur exhibit, and because it’s a compromise the whole family agrees upon. Life provides a zillion reasons to visit a science museum. Once there, museums stir the inner scientist that dwells in every individual. The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences has a mission that is eloquent and profound: to illuminate the interdependency of nature and humanity. That’s a mission I’ve chosen to accept, being a newly hired investigator in their Biodiversity Research Lab. I’m helping the NC Museum of Natural Sciences with one method they’ve been using to achieve their mission: citizen science. The Museum opens doors to welcome the public into the world of scientific research in the following ways:

Credit: Eric Knisley

Credit: Eric Knisley

On-exhibit research Read More


Astronauts Tracking Growth of Microbes from Philadelphia on the International Space Station This Week

By Darlene Cavalier | December 10, 2014 10:32 pm

Project MERCCURI Progresses. Growth of Microbes is Documented for Analysis and Interpretation by UC Davis Scientists.

project merccuri patch

Now through December 12,  on the International Space Station, astronaut Terry Virts is measuring the growth of microbes collected by citizen scientists from Philadelphia.

This citizen science research, known as Project MERCCURI, investigates how microbes from different places on Earth compare to each other and to those found on the International Space Station.

The microbes shot into space on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in April of this year. The microbes rested in a freezer at -80°C until the testing began earlier this week. UC Davis has received confirmation that the microbes are now growing in space, and the team in the Microbiology Lab will soon analyze the data on the individual microbes to see which won the “Microbial Playoffs.” Scientists are looking for winning microbes in three different categories: Read More


Citizen participation in science at the Museum of Science in Boston

By Arvind Suresh (Editor) | December 10, 2014 12:48 am

This is a guest post from David Sittenfeld, Manager, Forums at the Museum of Science, Boston.


Museum of Science Scistarter citizen science

Rica, a Museum summer youth intern, facilitates a discussion about urban air quality issues. Photo by David Rabkin, Museum of Science.

At the Museum of Science in Boston, we’ve been exploring three flavors of citizen science over the last half-decade or so. We started with fireflies and have added participatory efforts around urban environmental health assessment and participatory policy formulation.  We’re excited about the way that citizen science has transformed the landscape for science and are looking forward to what’s next! Read More


The giving list: supporting science with annual donations

By Arvind Suresh (Editor) | December 9, 2014 5:51 pm

This post was authored by by Donna Kridelbaugh,  (@science_mentor)  a communications consultant and founder of ScienceMentor.Me. Her mission is to create an online field guide to self-mentoring in science careers. She offers writing, editing and marketing services for early-career professionals who are ready to advance their career to the next level. Learn more at The post originally appeared on ASBMB Today.

A season for giving! (Image Credit: asenat29/Flickr CC BY 2.0)

A season for giving! (Image Credit: asenat29/Flickr CC BY 2.0)

Fundraising campaigns — from ice bucket challenges to pink cleats on the football field –have been all the craze lately, saturating our social media feeds and news headlines.

While it’s refreshing to see people pitching in to support groups that return a portion of funds to biomedical research, these donation fads can quickly fizzle out. Plus, many nonprofit research and science-education programs rely on consistent, year-round donations. Read More


Citizen Scientists Keep Watch for New Epidemics

By Angus Chen | December 2, 2014 12:57 pm
Iain Wanless / Wikimedia. Dying crows were one early sign of West Nile Virus entering North America

Iain Wanless / Flickr. Dying crows were one early sign of West Nile Virus entering North America

In 1999, crows began dropping dead in the United States. A crow here, a crow there – nobody thought much of it at the time, says Joshua Dein, a veterinary scientist working with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. But this was the precursor to outbreaks of the West Nile Virus in North America. Since scientists knew the virus infected crows at a near 100% mortality rate, Dein says it is possible public health officials could have been forewarned about the oncoming virus had someone been monitoring the crow situation.

But this is a goal easier said than done. Early detection of disease events that affect wildlife is often difficult to achieve because sometimes the evidence is diffuse and hard to collect. “When you have hundred dead ducks in one place that usually gets attention. You usually when you get ones or twos – not so much,” Dein says. Read More

A Fabulous Menu of Citizen Science for Thanksgiving!

By Arvind Suresh (Editor) | November 26, 2014 1:33 pm

We’ve updated and reposted this Thanksgiving Day treat,  from Lily Bui!

Dig into this serving of Thanksgiving projects with your friends and family!

monarchWestern Monarch Thanksgiving Count

Help researchers take census of winter Monarch butterflies. Count Monarchs in colonies, during the mornings around Thanksgiving. Get started!

Read More


8 Days Left! Let’s Make More Citizen Science Journalism Possible!

By Arvind Suresh (Editor) | November 25, 2014 3:27 pm

We’re working with Beacon, an independent platform for journalism, to crowdfund an expansion of SciStarter’s citizen science coverage.

We have 8 days left to reach our goal of $6,000 to make this happen. Today, we’re 13 percent of the way there. Let’s get to 25 percent together by the end of the day today!

You can back our project by clicking here or by visiting this link:

As a backer, you can subscribe for as little as $5/month, and there are cool rewards, like SciStarter t-shirts, for backers who subscribe for more.

Support citizen science journalism by SciStarter and show it off with this cool t-shirt!

Support citizen science journalism by SciStarter and show it off with this cool t-shirt!

Read More


Add Your Computer’s Brain To A Disease-Fighting Network

By Carolyn Graybeal | November 25, 2014 3:04 pm
Flickr/US Army Afirca/CCBY2.0

Flickr/US Army Afirca/CCBY2.0

What if instead of sitting idle, your home computer to could help cure some of the world’s most devastating diseases? Sound improbable but that is exactly what Anthony Chubb, a molecular biologist at the University College Dublin in Ireland, and his team are doing through a citizen science project called FightMalaria@Home.

The goal of FightMalaria@Home is to identify new malaria-fighting drugs as certain parasites are developing resistance to our current anti-malarial drugs. The pharmaceutical industry has already identified tens of thousands of potential anti-malarial compounds but they haven’t identified how they work. Chubb recognized that if any of these drugs were going to help fight malaria, scientists needed to understand how each compound works and which would be dead ends. Read More


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Citizen Science Salon

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Citizen Science Salon, brought to you by SciStarter, is where science enthusiasts can join forces with top researchers. We'll feature weekly collaborative, crowdsourced, and DIY research projects that relate to what you're reading about in Discover, so you can take science into your own hands. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.

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