Archive for the ‘Citizen Science’ Category

3, 2, 1…Project MERCCURI Blasts Off to the ISS Today!!

By April 14th, 2014 at 11:40 am | Comment

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What happens when you combine professional cheerleaders, microbiologists, and astronauts? The answer is Project MERCCURI and the Microbial Playoffs… in SPAAACE!

SPACE FLORIDA, FL — Today, something  amazing is headed toward the ISS—microbial life from earth!This moment is the culmination of a citizen science experiment called Project MERCCURI (Microbial Ecology Research Combining Citizen and University Researchers on the ISS), a collaboration between NASA, UC Davis, SciStarter, and Science Cheerleaders.

Watch the launch LIVE today at 4:58pm ET / 1:58 PT on NASA TV!!

There were two main goals for the project. The first involves a huge competition that will take place on the ISS between 47 different microbes that have been collected by thousands of public participants from the surfaces of various public spaces (mostly sporting venues). The microbial competitors will face off against each other to see who will grow the fastest, and the race will be monitored by astronauts on the ISS, using standard laboratory equipment. Researchers at UC Davis will host an identical race using the same kind of equipment on Earth.

The second  goal involves sending 4,000 cell samples to Argonne National Lab to be sequenced by Jack Gilbert. The lab will identify which microbes are present on the surfaces of cell phones and shoes and compare them to other cell phone and shoe samples from around the country. While astronauts do not carry cell phones or wear shoes, they will be swabbing similar surfaces onboard the ISS, like foot holds that they strap their feet into while they are operating the external robotic arms and their wall-mounted communication devices.

You can get to know all of the microbial competitors, who they are, where they’re from, and why they are so cool on the official website. If you want, you can even print your own Microbial Trading Cards. Cell phone and shoe collections will continue through April!

The microbes are sailing into space today aboard Space X’s Dragon spacecraft. SciStarter’s founder, Darlene Cavalier, is on site today at the launch. She notes, “We’re here, in part, as representatives of the thousands of citizen scientists who participated in this important research project to study microbes on Earth and in space!”

 

Thank you to all who made this project possible. It’s pure proof that the sky is the limit for what we can do in science, together.

For more, follow #SpaceMicrobes on Twitter.

Image: Darlene Cavalier

Science Festivals and Hack Days!

By April 7th, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Comment

April is the month for science festivals. Join the SciStarter team at a festival near you later on this month — bring yourselves, and we’ll bring the citizen science!

Cambridge Science Festival

Friday, April 18 – Sunday, April 27

Come check out the diverse spectrum of citizen science projects out there! On April 19th during the Science Carnival event, our friends at EyeWire, Games With Words, GoViral, NOVA Labs, Public Lab, and Project MERCCURI will be joining us and demonstrating how to participate in their projects.

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USA Science & Engineering Festival

Saturday, April 26 – Sunday, April 27

SciStarter will be partnering up with PaleoQuest to demonstrate their Shark Finder project. The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center will also be coming by to tell you about their new citizen science initiatives! Project MERCCURI will also be on deck. Stop by and say hello!

HACK DAYS! SciStarter is hosting a hack event in D.C. (4/26 to 4/27) to develop open APIs for citizen science. If you’re interested in participating, sign up here!

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Philadelphia Science Festival

Friday, April 25 – Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Philly SciFest always brings a plethora of activities to choose from! SciStarter and Project MERCCURI will have a booth during the Science Carnival event on May 3rd. Come help us end this season of science festivals with a bang!

HACK DAY! SciStarter is hosting a hack event in Philly (4/9) to develop open APIs for citizen science. If you’re interested in participating, sign up here!

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Interested in volunteering with us for any (or all) of these events? Shoot an e-mail to lily@scistarter.com!

[WEBINAR] CitSci.Org “Feature Friday” webinar on 4/4: Plots, Subplots, Transects, and Protocols!

By April 2nd, 2014 at 4:50 pm | Comment

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Greetings from CitSci.org! Please join us for our next “Feature Friday” webinar. These webinars invite you to offer your ideas and thoughts about improvements to CitSci.org. The first Friday of each month these webinars will focus on a specific topic / feature of CitSci.org. We will demonstrate how to use the website feature and take feedback.

The April webinar will focus on “Plots, Subplots, Transects, and Protocols!” We will discuss the scientific value of using more sophisticated plot designs for your environmental monitoring efforts by sharing a few examples. We will then delve into how to use CitSci.org to create datasheets that support these plot designs, how to create custom species pick lists, and how volunteers can now report as many species as they happen to find at a given subplot for a specified monitoring location. We conclude by demonstrating how to view your subplot data online. Together, we hope to guide the future of this exciting platform in support of your collaborative citizen science / community based monitoring efforts.

WHAT: CitSci.org April “Feature Friday” webinar

WHEN: April 4th, 2014 (12:00 noon PST; 1:00 PM MST; 2:00 PM CST; 3:00 PM EST)

DURATION: 1 hour

Time: 1:00-2:00p (MST)

HOW TO JOIN

Use either your microphone and speakers (VoIP) or, call in using your telephone:

Dial +1 (786) 358-5420

Access Code: 557-036-925

Audio PIN: Shown after joining the meeting

Meeting ID: 557-036-925

Not at your computer? Click this link to join this meeting from your iPhone®, iPad®, Android® or Windows Phone® device via the GoToMeeting app.

Categories: Citizen Science

Citizen Science in the Classroom: School of Ants

By April 2nd, 2014 at 4:48 pm | Comment

Using School of Ants Citizen Science to Meet Common Core and Next Generation Teaching Standards in the Classroom

School of ants alex wild photos

Discovering Ants

Grades:

K-12th

Description:

School of Ants (SOA) is one of many urban wildlife citizen science projects hosted through the Your Wildlife project. Your Wildlife and School of Ants focuses on biodiversity and citizen-scientist driven inquiry in urban areas around schools and homes.  Dr. Andrea Lucky is the director of the SOA project out of the University of Florida’s Entomology Lab and the Nematology Lab at NC State. The idea behind the project is for citizen scientists to collect samples of ants from paved and green spaces around their homes and schools. They then send in the samples to the lab in Florida for identification. This data is used to generate a North American map of ant biodiversity and distribution.

SOA used to provide kits for ant collection but now they ask project participants to provide the supplies. As you can see from the list below these are limited to zip-lock bags, cookies, and index cards with some postal shipping. You can find step by step project instructions for the kits and collection in their free online PDF. Due to limited resources schools may participate by submitting one sample from each address or school location (no more than one). However you may submit multiple samples from different addresses (from the same person or class). Sampling takes exactly one hour. NOTE: as a caution be sure to have a minimal understanding of the biting and stinging ant varieties around your school. Do not collect ants that might cause harm to students.

Materials You’ll Need:

  • Computer with internet and printer
  • Instruction page for collecting ants
  • 8 white 3”x5” index cards
  • 2 Pecan Sandies Cookies (contains nuts, but must be used for standard protocol)
  • 8 small zip-lock bags (1 qt.)
  • 1 large zip-lock bag (1 gal.)
  • 1 envelope for mailing ants by US post, and postage
  • Freezer
  • Book
  • Magnifying glasses (optional)
  • Dr. Elanor’s Book of Common Ants PDF (free online through iTunes, optional)

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Why This Citizen Science Project is a Strong Candidate for the Classroom:

  • Ants are ubiquitous and the project can be done anywhere in the US around schools or homes.
  • Ants can be observed three seasons of the year in most locations.
  • There are minimal supplies required to participate in this project.
  • This project is a one-time activity, lasting one hour, so the time required is minimal.
  • The project can be a springboard for lessons focusing on arthropods and invertebrates around the school.

Read the rest of this entry »

Science enthusiasts can join forces with top researchers through a partnership between DISCOVER Magazine and SciStarter

By April 1st, 2014 at 10:00 am | Comment

PRESS RELEASE (PDF)
April 1, 2014
For more information:
info@scistarter.com

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PHILADELPHIA, PA. (April 1, 2014) – A “citizen science” movement is sweeping the country, with more than 700 active research projects to prove it. The fields that citizen science advances are diverse: ecology, astronomy, medicine, psychology, linguistics, genetics, engineering, and many more.

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DISCOVER is teaming up with SciStarter to present the Citizen Science Salon, a print, online and social media partnership. The new Citizen Science Salon blog will feature selections from SciStarter’s Project Finder that are related to DISCOVER’s print and online content. Each print issue of DISCOVER will highlight SciStarter opportunities for readers to take action on topics they care about, directly related to articles they are reading.

Additionally, each week, SciStarter will help Discover curate citizen science projects, ranging from analyzing distant galaxies to monitoring frog, firefly and whale populations, to detecting home and body microbiomes, even to helping deliberate on science policy. Now science enthusiasts who want to collaborate with leading scientists can visit DiscoverMagazine.com to join cutting-edge research projects.

“This partnership moves DISCOVER into the fast-growing realm of citizen science,” says Steve George, Editor in Chief of DISCOVER Magazine. “Our readers tell us they’re eager to help study and explore the world, but it can be difficult for them to know where to begin. Now we’ll be connecting our readers to opportunities to participate in scientific research within our print articles.”

“DISCOVER has enormous credibility in the scientific community. Its print and online readers are enthusiastic and intelligent, and their participation in research projects will be invaluable to researchers,” adds Darlene Cavalier, founder of SciStarter.

Researchers and team leaders who want their project featured can submit it to the SciStarter Project Finder for consideration by the SciStarter editors.

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About SciStarter

SciStarter is a citizen science hotspot where millions of people find hundreds of searchable projects aligned with topics and activities of interest to them. Researchers add their projects to the Project Finder and SciStarter helps recruit participants from all walks of life.

About DISCOVER

DISCOVER makes science entertaining and understandable through beautiful writing, stunning images, and clear explanations. The monthly magazine covers all of science, from astronomy to human origins to the environment.  DiscoverMagazine.com is one of the top science destinations on the Internet, with more than two million monthly visitors. It features daily science news coverage, image and video galleries, and a lineup of popular science blogs.

Categories: Citizen Science