Spring is the Season for Citizen Science

By Arvind Suresh (Editor) | March 24, 2015 11:26 pm
Photo: NPS

Photo: NPS

Here are six projects in need of your help as you walk the dog, work in your garden, clean the gutters, or do spring cleaning.

And check out these  new citizen science projects just added to the Project Finder on SciStarter.


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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Environment

Journey North: Tracking the Stories of Survival with Citizen Science

By Ian Vorster | March 22, 2015 9:00 am
A group of Gray Whales Count volunteers count gray whales at Coal Oil Point in Santa Barbara.  (ianvorsterphotography.com)

A group of Gray Whales Count volunteers count gray whales at Coal Oil
Point in Santa Barbara. (ianvorsterphotography.com)

It was a crisp morning following a cold night in Goleta’s Coronado Monarch Butterfly Preserve. As Luke crossed a beam that had been dropped across a swampy area, he looked up at the Eucalyptus grove and sighed quietly. “Where are the butterflies Dad,” he asked me—with one part expectation and one part disappointment.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Environment

Finding our origins: The Genographic Project uses genetics to map the past

By Carolyn Graybeal | March 20, 2015 9:00 am
Ancient human migration patterns. Source: National Geographic.

Ancient human migration patterns. Source: National Geographic.

Have you ever tried tracing back your family tree only to get stuck at great great Grandpa Jim? Are you curious about who your ancestors were and where they might have come from? If so, you’ll definitely want to check out National Geographic’s The Genographic Project. Not only will you learn about your lineage but you’ll have the opportunity to contribute to our scientific understanding of the human story.

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The Next Big Drug Discovery Could Come From a Scoop of Soil in Your Backyard

By Guest | March 18, 2015 4:00 am
Scoop it up for Citizen Science! (Image Credit: Pat Dumas / Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Scoop it up for Citizen Science! (Image Credit: Pat Dumas / Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Dr Robert H. Cichewicz. Director of the University of Oklahoma, Institute for Natural Products Applications and Research Technologies (INPART). Dr Cichewicz leads the Citizen Science Soil Collection Program which is focused on translating natural products into therapeutic leads to combat cancer, infectious diseases, and other unmet medical needs. Visit the project page on SciStarter to start participating and join thousands of other citizen scientists! You can also find other projects in our database through the project finder!

Do you remember what is was like to be five years old? I don’t, but I get a pretty good idea from watching my children.

There are two things that strike me when watching them. First, we all start off as a scientist at heart. There are innumerable questions to be asked and answered. Each day is filled with question marks, big and small, about how and why the world works that way that it does. Second, at some level, we all love dirt. More than just the opportunistic digging and poking of fingers into the dirtiest possible places, children embrace dirt and regularly don it like an essential fashion accessory. At some level, I believe that we have all retained some aspect of those characteristics in our grownup selves. And although adult society (and our mothers) might chide us for being too nosey with endless questions and too messy based on the dirt under our fingernails, there are simple ways that we can still embrace our inner child. Read More

MORE ABOUT: fungi, soil

Spring Forward and Track Migrations for Citizen Science

By Arvind Suresh (Editor) | March 9, 2015 5:00 am
Photo: USFWS

Photo: USFWS

We think migration is one of the most astounding phenomena in the animal world. Creatures large and small travel hundreds, even thousands of miles along the same routes every year, to the amazement of us human observers.

Here are five migration projects that study migratory wildlife and are in need of your observations.


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MORE ABOUT: migration, newsletter

Playing It Safe Online: NOVA Cybersecurity Lab Trains You to Carefully Navigate the Web

By Carolyn Graybeal | March 2, 2015 9:10 pm

cyberpromo-facebook header

With our ever-increasing connectivity and reliance on the internet, cybersecurity is a growing concern. Despite all the cautionary warnings about cyber safety, individuals, companies and government agencies still fall victim to attack.

So what does it take to stay safe? NOVA, in partnership with computer scientists and cybersecurity experts, created the Cybersecurity Lab, a digital platform designed to teach people about cyber threats and how to improve their own cybersecurity. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Technology

Like your citizen science with a side of fun? Check out these gaming projects!

By Arvind Suresh (Editor) | February 23, 2015 1:00 am

Citizen science makes serious contributions to our understanding of the world, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun doing it!

Here are five projects that combine science and gameplay to create an exciting experience for everyone.

The SciStarter Team

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Technology

Nanocrafter: Playing a Game of Synthetic Biology

By Carolyn Graybeal | February 22, 2015 6:00 am
Nanocrafter image

Image Credit: Nanocrafter

On its surface, it looks like just another science puzzle game. In reality, the game is part of a broader goal to enable non-scientists to contribute to synthetic biology research.

‘It’ is Nanocrafter, a project created by researchers and game developers at the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington. They are the same team behind the citizen science project FoldIt.

“Most citizen science games are designed to gather data for a specific research question. Players may need to be good at pattern recognition, abstract reasoning, or other cognitive skills. Our focus at Nanocrafter is different,” says Nanocrafter Project Lead Jonathan Barone. “The project isn’t intended to address any existing research. Rather, we are interested in developing a user community that is familiar enough with the principles and parameters of synthetic biology to generate new ideas, identify new questions and create their own solutions.” Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Living World
MORE ABOUT: synthetic biology

Now is your chance! Inform NASA’s Asteroid Initiative.

By Darlene Cavalier | February 18, 2015 10:33 am

nasa citizen forum

Go to ecastonline.consider.it to get started!

In November, several hundred people in Phoenix, Boston, and online came together to learn about NASA’s Asteroid Initiative and to consider and discuss different approaches to dealing with the opportunities and threats posed by asteroids. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Space & Physics

Citizen Science for Your Genes and Proteins

By Arvind Suresh (Editor) | February 9, 2015 7:59 pm
Photo: Genome.gov

Photo: Genome.gov

DNA, proteins, and chromosomes are too small to be seen with the naked eye, but there are plenty of citizen science projects that make the building blocks of life accessible to us all.

Here are some great projects that need your help to advance our understanding of what we’re made of and where we come from.


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MORE ABOUT: genes, proteins

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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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