Flight of the Living Dead

By Guest | February 9, 2017 10:59 am

By: Ayla Fudala

If you’ve ever seen bees flying around at night, there’s a good chance they’re so-called “ZomBees”—honey bees whose brains are under the control of tiny fly larvae growing inside their bodies.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Education

Join us for a Citizen Science Day Webinar

By Catherine Hoffman | February 7, 2017 6:12 pm

 

citizen science day webinar

WHEN: February 8th 12-1pm EST

WHAT: This free webinar, hosted by the Citizen Science Association, will present an overview of Citizen Science Day; illustrate highlights from 2016 (the inaugural year); provide a discussion of tools and resources to support events, projects, and regional meet-ups;  spark ideas to add citizen science to existing events; and, in general, serve as a starting point for anyone interested in celebrating citizen science during  Citizen Science Day 2017!

Our colleagues from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and California Academy of Sciences will wrap up the webinar with a brief tutorial on how to run a BioBlitz, as one popular example of a possible event you might consider leading or joining.

Citizen Science Day 2017 runs from April 15th to May 20th and is presented by SciStarter in collaboration with the Citizen Science Association.

JOIN: Learn more and find out how to connect online here:  https://scistarter.com/project/16869-Citizen-Science-Day-Webinar

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Events

Wildlife Disease Citizen Science

By Eva Lewandowski | February 2, 2017 12:25 pm
Photo: USFWS

Photo: USFWS

Wild animals get sick from parasites, fungi, and other causes just like people and pets do, but they don’t usually have doctors to help them get better. Instead, you can help them with citizen science! Below, we highlight five projects that study wildlife diseases. Find more projects on SciStarter to do now, or bookmark your favorites for later!

Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

Photo: USGS
ZomBee Watch
Honey bees across North America are being infected by tiny parasites called Zombie Flies; the sick bees abandon their hives and die. Volunteers can capture honey bees and test them for the presence of the parasite.

Photo: Bethann Merkle
Bee Germs
Many bee species nest in the ground, and often we know very little about the diseases that impact them. If you have ground-nesting bees in your area, you can collect a few and send them to researchers to be tested for diseases.

Photo: NPS
Project Monarch Health
A parasite called OE affects monarchs throughout the United States; the disease causes malformations and even death. Volunteers can help track the abundance of this disease by capturing monarchs, painlessly collecting a sample of their scales, and then releasing them.

Photo: SERC
Chesapeake Bay Parasite Project
If you live in the Chesapeake Bay area, you can help survey for an invasive parasite that is infecting native mud crabs. Volunteers are needed for this summer, so use our new bookmark feature to save the project for later!

Photo: USFWS
OK Amphibian Disease Testing
Students and teachers in Oklahoma are needed to catch frogs, swab them for a fungus called chytrid (potentially lethal to frogs), and then safely release them. Request a monitoring kit now to be prepared for the March-June peak monitoring season.


Want more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With 1100+ citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Environment

Help fight illegal fishing with Global Fishing Watch

By Guest | January 31, 2017 4:10 pm

By Adam Reyer, Project Director for Global Fishing Watch

Hundreds of millions of people depend on the ocean for their livelihoods, and almost 3 billion rely on it as a protein source. But countless threats — overfishing, destructive fishing practices, bycatch, dishonest catch reporting, habitat destruction — threaten our oceans and the people who depend on them. It’s an economic problem, too:  illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is a universal problem that accounts for 11-26 million tons of fish caught and $10-23 billion in global economic losses each year.

It seems overwhelming. But what if there was a tool that gave all people the power to become watchdogs of our oceans? How can technology help enforcement agencies to better monitor their territory at sea? How can we help identify illegal fishing and protect ocean habitats? Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Environment

Announcing Citizen Science Day 2017!

By Catherine Hoffman | January 30, 2017 7:42 am

Citizen Science Day is back!

SciStarter is excited to once again present Citizen Science Day in collaboration with the Citizen Science Association! This month-long event is a chance to celebrate the millions of citizen scientists who have contributed countless hours to collect data in their backyard, analyze online images to cure diseases, build low-cost instruments,  and SO much more! Citizen Science Day kicks off on Saturday, April 15th with celebrations running through April and into May, culminating during the Citizen Science Association Conference and public science event at the Science Museum of Minnesota on May 20th. We invite citizen scientists and project leaders from around the world to celebrate citizen science during this time!

“Citizen Science Day is a way to help showcase the opportunities and contributions of citizen science – #CitSciDay activities bring attention to the ways that everyone can engage with science to make a difference in the world – whether that is helping find a cure for Alzheimer’s, using data to address sources of air pollution, or making discoveries of new phenomena in our backyards or in space,” says Jennifer Shirk of the Citizen Science Association.

Events during last year’s celebration included over 100 BioBlitzes in areas from National Parks to community green spaces, transcription challenges at local libraries, citizen science hikes, festivals, workshops, and more! The 2017 Citizen Science Day webpage will go live on March 1.

Even if there isn’t a local event planned in your community, you can participate in one of SciStarter’s thousands of citizen science projects on topics ranging from Astronomy to Zoology.

Are you looking to host an event?

SciStarter in collaboration with the Citizen Science Association will be hosting a webinar on February 8th from 12:00-1:00 EST all about Citizen Science Day. This free webinar will present an overview of Citizen Science Day, illustrate highlights from 2016 (the inaugural year), provide a discussion of ideas and resources for hosting events and regional meet-ups, and, in general, help you prepare for Citizen Science Day 2017! We will wrap up the webinar with a brief tutorial from Alison Young from California Academy of Sciences and Lila Higgins of the LA Natural History Museum on how to run a BioBlitz: one popular example of an event you might consider.

Once you’ve planned your event, add it to the SciStarter Events Calendar so people can find it.  SciStarter will also be sharing the events through our syndicated partners including Discover Magazine, Astronomy Magazine, PBS, PLoS, NSTA, Philly.com, and more! The 2017 Citizen Science Day webpage will go live on March 1!

Interested in supporting Citizen Science Day? We’re actively looking for funders and sponsors. Contact us for more information (info@scistarter.com).

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Uncategorized

New Hope for Autoimmune Disease Treatment with Citizen Science

By Catherine Hoffman | January 28, 2017 9:00 am

Screen images from the Autoimmune Citizen Science app.

Nearly 50 million Americans live with one or more of 80 recognized autoimmune disorders, conditions in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells or tissues. Though widespread, the search for treatments for these conditions can be convoluted and frustrating.

Autoimmune Citizen Science founder Vivek Mandan experienced this frustration first-hand as he struggled to deal with his own autoimmune disorder.

“I spent a lot of time translating my health into data, conducting experiments on myself, combing through forums for ideas, Facebook discussion groups, blogs, and scrolling through the hundreds of articles I reflex-bookmarked trying to figure out whichever obscure theory I was experimenting with,” he said.

“I knew there had to be a tool that could help me understand my health and unified resources for combatting autoimmunity. In fact, there wasn’t, so I decided to make one.”
Read More

How to Tell a Rock from a Penguin: It’s Harder Than It Sounds

By acrall | January 26, 2017 3:22 pm

Adelie penguins. Credit: Jean Pennycook

By: Lishka Arata

Many things distinguish penguins from rocks. There’s color difference (usually), behavior (penguins waddle, rocks don’t), social structure (rocks don’t have one) — the list goes on. But why might someone need to distinguish between rocks and penguins?

It’s a skill central to a long-term project that relies on citizen scientists, working from the comfort of their homes, to identify penguins in photographs taken by remotely operated cameras in Antarctica. The project, focused on Adelie penguins, aims to determine how climate change affects living systems. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Education

And the Squirrels were Merry

By Guest | January 21, 2017 8:00 am

By: Russ Campbell

I grew up in Fishtown, Philadelphia, an inner city grid of red-brick row homes, corner bars, candy shops, and barely-breathing factories. Fishtown was not known for its wildlife. There were birds. A wide variety, if two counts as a wide variety: big birds (pigeons) and small birds (sparrows). There were cats and an occasional dog that escaped out of someone’s yard.

On rare occasions, I’d see a squirrel scampering about on the telephone pole in my backyard. This was an occasion to call all the neighbor kids and we would stand there like we were at the zoo. The squirrel stared right back, Philly-style. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science

Spot a Squirrel and Help Science

By Eva Lewandowski | January 19, 2017 1:55 pm
January 21st is Squirrel Appreciation Day! Celebrate by participating in one of these squirrel-centric projects. It sounds a little nutty, but researchers unnamed (2)rely on your squirrel observations to advance research about these furry friends.  Find more projects on SciStarter to do now, or bookmark your favorites for later!
Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

Photo: USFWS
Project Squirrel
Squirrels are some of the most common forms of backyard wildlife. Wherever you are, you can join the study of wildlife by counting squirrels in your neighborhood and reporting your findings online.

Photo: USFWS
Southern California Squirrel Survey
Squirrels are abundant in Southern California, but some native species are in decline and other introduced species are spreading a little too quickly. Learn what’s happening in your neck of the woods by by posting a photo and location information on this website.

Photo: WA State DFWC
Western Gray Squirrel Project
The western gray squirrel is threatened in Washington state, and biologists need to know more about them to understand what’s happening. Residents in the Methow Valley can conduct squirrel surveys to estimate the size and distribution of the population.

White Squirrel Mapping
Have you ever seen a white squirrel? Throughout the world, squirrels of species that are normally grey or red are sometimes white. Report sightings of white squirrels and add to a global map of their distribution.

Photo: USFWS
SquirrelMapper
In some locations, gray squirrels have evolved to be black! By mapping the locations of black squirrels, you can help biologists understand more about this change and how it benefits the squirrels.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is launching a wildlife camera trap study called North Carolina’s Candid Critters. Find out more here.  Want more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With 1100+ citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science

Turtle Crossing in Wisconsin

By Guest | January 12, 2017 2:16 pm

By: Russ Campbell

Why did the turtle cross the road? Change the “why” to a “where,” and conservation biologist Andrew Badje just might be able to tell you. Through his work with the Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program, Badje collects turtle road crossing data to help map populations, especially at precarious road and rail crossings. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Citizen Science, Environment
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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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