Audubon’s Climate Watch Program needs volunteers to help it spot 12 birds threatened by climate change. Are you in?
“Hope is the thing with feathers/ That perches in the soul,” Emily Dickinson wrote. Is there hope for our feathered friends in the era of climate change? Yes, but they need our help. More than 300 North American birds will likely lose over 50 percent of their current geographical range by 2080, according to Audubon’s 2014 Birds and Climate Change Report. This means that the areas with the climate conditions these birds need are shifting or disappearing. Just like people, birds will need to adapt to big climatic changes.Read More
Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography are working with Antarctic tour operators like Hurtigruten to enable vacationers to serve as citizen scientists with the FjordPhyto citizen science project. Travelers collect samples of phytoplankton from Antarctic fjords in an effort to understand the base of the food web, helping scientists learn how one of the most fertile ocean regions in the world may be changing.Read More
Explore one of the least scientifically studied places on the planet: your home!
Our editors picked these five projects to help you and scientists learn more about indoor air quality, microbes, tap water pipes, and living things lurking in your home!
Find more projects you can do at home here.
The SciStarter Team
Changing Methods of Science Communication
When we discuss science communication, we often talk about it as either targeted at professional scientists or as targeted at the public. However, with the increase in citizen science and public engagement in science, new ways to communicate about science — modes that exist somewhere between separate professional and public genres — have developed apace.
In my new book, Science Communication Online, from The Ohio State University Press, I investigate new ways of communicating about science that don’t quite fit in either the professional or public category. I call these “trans-scientific genres,” and included among these are blog posts, crowdfunding proposals, and even open access data repositories, all of which are important tools for many citizen science projects.Read More
Heading to the beach this weekend? Consider engaging in water quality testing with the Surfrider Foundation. The Surfrider Foundation is a grassroots environmental organization whose mission is to protect and enjoy the world’s ocean, waves, and beaches.Read More
Sara Futch, a graduate student at North Carolina State University, won Best Overall Poster at the Citizen Science Association Conference 2019 for her poster, “Uncovering Connections across Citizen Science Projects: A Social Network Analysis.” Conference attendees selected Sara’s poster via in-person votes during the poster session.Read More
The potential for AI to propel citizen science efforts forward is incredible; from rapidly analyzing your data or identifying insects, to helping you find and join the best project for your research goals. Here are some ongoing citizen science projects and research efforts that involve AI and citizen science to maximize the efforts of participants and scientists.
The SciStarter Team
Citizen Science Day is an annual celebration presented by SciStarter and the Citizen Science Association in an effort to connect people to real research in need of their help. It taps the curiosity and observations of people to contribute to significant scientific research efforts.
This year, the featured event of #CitSciDay2019 was the StallCatchers #Megathon, a gamified method of identifying stalls in blood flow in the brain, which is believed to contribute to Alzheimer’s. Because of the participation of citizens around the world, over the course of a single weekend, citizen scientists had accomplished 2,566 research hours, or 3.5 months of lab-equivalent research time. The StallCatchers team reported that preliminary research results indicate “high blood pressure is associated with an increased rate of stalls in mice, and much more so in mice that have been engineered to get Alzheimer’s disease.” They will continue to explore and verify this finding, which is just an early glimpse of the ultimate research result.
In the months leading up to the Megathon, SciStarter and partners, including the Human Computation Institute, Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Pacific Southwest Region, and the Citizen Science Association, hosted weekly calls to engage librarians and event organizers and activate libraries as hubs for citizen science. SciStarter and ASU provided Citizen Science Day resources, including the Librarian’s Guide to Citizen Science, bookmarks, posters, press releases, a social media tool-kit, and more.
At the start of World War I, thousands of soldiers were coming down with a baffling condition: they became blind, deaf, lost their memory, or developed uncontrollable shaking despite no obvious physical injury. Even stranger, this malady could be triggered by memories of the war even after the fighting had ended. At the time, doctors called what they were seeing “shell-shock,” though today we would call it by a different name: post-traumatic stress disorder. Anything that brought back memories of the trenches could precipitate this condition, but one of the most common triggers was loud noise. An engine backfiring, a firecracker on Independence Day or, in at least one case, simply speaking the word “bomb,” could cause afflicted soldiers to become catatonic or act out memories from the war. All this, the result of a sound.
Clearly, sound can have a dramatic effect on our bodies and our minds. But it doesn’t have to be linked to memories of trauma to affect us. Indeed, studies have shown that even exposure to seemingly innocuous sound can impact our health. Low volume, low-frequency traffic noise, for instance, is linked to all sorts of health consequences including poor sleep quality, difficulty concentrating, and even cardiovascular problems.