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Top 12 Citizen Science Projects of 2012

By December 31st, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Comment

2012 was a huge year for citizen science. From microbes to Zombie Flies, from sea to space, there was no shortage of opportunities for everyday people to contribute to real scientific discovery.

Each year at SciStarter, we analyze our glorious website metrics to identify the most popular projects of the year. Below, I’ve listed the year’s 12 most visited projects in our Project Finder, a growing collection of more than 500 new and existing citizen science opportunities.

Happy New Year, and keep experimenting!

Mastodon Matrix Project

The Mastodon Matrix Project is a chance to make science history! Volunteers analyze actual samples of matrix (the dirt) from a 14,000 year old mastodon excavated in New York. Shells, bones, hair and other discoveries are then sent back to the Paleontological Research Institution to be further analyzed by paleontologists.

EteRNA: Solve Puzzles for Science

EteRNA is a collaborative online game in which volunteers help biologists solve a challenging mystery: what are the rules governing RNA folding? Players who assemble the best RNA designs online will see their creations synthesized in a biochemistry lab.

Project Squirrel

Project Squirrel calls on volunteers to count the number of squirrels in their neighborhoods and report their findings. The goal is to understand urban squirrel biology, including everything from squirrels to migratory birds, nocturnal mammals, and secretive reptiles and amphibians.

The Royal Society’s Laughter Project

A picture of a laughing man will hopefully encourage you to join the Royal Society Laughter ProjectThe Royal Society put together a playlist of different laughs and asked people to determine if those laughs were real and fake. The results, which will be posted on the project blog soon, will help researchers at the University College of London learn how people react to different sounds. THIS science will make you LOL!

Bat Detective

Bat Detective enlists citizen scientists to screen sound recordings of bats to classify their distinct calls. These classifications will be used to create a new algorithm to help researchers easily extract information from sound recordings and more closely monitor threatened bat populations.

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