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Norfolk Bat Survey

The Norfolk Bat Survey (www.batsurvey.org) was originally set up with colleagues at the British Trust for Ornithology as a bit of fun, whilst improving local knowledge and interest in bats, but has since enlisted over 800 volunteers. Volunteers sign up and borrow a passive bat-detector from one of 21 centres hosting equipment. Leaving the detector outside at three different locations a night within a 1-km square, bat calls are recorded and saved to a memory card. After three days, volunteers return the detector and post the memory card containing bat recordings to the BTO. The data are analysed using algorithms that help assign bat calls to species and volunteers are sent a report with the results of their survey within a few days of taking part.

Since the start of the project in 2013, volunteers have surveyed 1,146 1-km squares (>20% of Norfolk). This has generated over 1.2 million bat recordings, making this one of the most extensive high-quality datasets for bats from anywhere in the world.

At a local scale, the Norfolk project has improved our understanding of patterns of occurrence and activity of all species from the near ubiquitous Common Pipistrelle (Pipistrellus pipistrellus) to the locally scarce Leisler’s bat (Nyctalus leisleri). This has demonstrated the cost-effectiveness of setting up a network of centres across a survey area of interest from which anyone can borrow a passive detector for a few days. Through our choice of centres, it has given us the opportunity to work with a wide range of communities and organisations that already had their own network of volunteers or members, and in doing so opened up citizen science to a new set of people.

Plans now are underway to set up of a much larger acoustic bat project across southern Scotland, in partnership with the Bat Conservation Trust, National Trust for Scotland and funded by Scottish Natural Heritage to run from May 2016. More broadly, with bat detectors recording more than just bats (e.g. >300,000 recordings of bush-crickets from Norfolk), there is clearly an exciting opportunity for “bat recording” to contribute more widely to biological recording in the future.

Dr Stuart Newson, British Trust for Ornithology

Newson, S.E., Evans, H.E. & Gillings, S. 2015. A novel citizen approach for large-scale standardised monitoring of bat activity and distribution, evaluated in eastern England. Biological Conservation 191: 38-49. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0006320715002323

Newson, S.E., Ross-Smith, V., Evans, I., Harold, R., Miller, R. & Barlow, K. 2014. Bat-monitoring: a novel approach. British Wildlife 25: 264-269.

Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey

The primary purpose of the WFTS is to determine the status, distribution, and long-term population trends of Wisconsin's twelve frog and toad species. The WFTS began in 1981 and is now the longest running acoustic frog and toad monitoring project in the world.

There are two ways to volunteer:

Route monitoring is used to record frogs and toads at specific locations throughout Wisconsin. Volunteers visit 10 spots along predetermined routes 3 times each year and take note of the frogs and toads they hear calling. These routes are limited to about 2 routes per county.

Phenology surveys help monitor frog breeding seasons in relation to fluctuating spring weather conditions. Volunteers select 1-2 sites to monitor throughout the spring and early summer and monitor them repeatedly for frog and toad calls. Phenology surveys are open to an unlimited number of volunteers.

Independent Generation of Research

IGoR facilitates scientific research by amateur scientists and science enthusiasts. Anyone (not just professional scientists) can propose their own research questions on the IGoR site. Then, other interested people can share ideas, skills, or time to address the question. In addition, a growing number of professional scientists have agreed to help answer users' questions about the users' research projects.

Some people may have science questions that they cannot answer on their own. Other people may have technical skills (e.g. electronics or microscopy, gardening or photography, and many others) that would be useful for addressing those questions. Still others may have the scientific training to design a sound study.

By working together and pooling skills and ideas, people of any experience level could carry out original, independent research. For example, do you want to decipher what scallops see with their bright-blue eyes? Do you wonder how mushrooms take shape? Or are you curious about how the plants in your garden behave? What do you want to discover?

Wisconsin Bat Program

In general, bats are difficult to study because they are nocturnal, fast fliers, roost in inconspicuous places and can move great distances in short periods of time. As such, lack of information on basic biology and ecology is one of the greatest limitations to conservation of bat species.

There are three ways that you can participate in this project:

1) Report sick or dead bats. With the spread of White-Nose syndrome, which can be fatal for bats, it is important that we track bat mortality.

2) Monitor bat roosts during the summer. Bat roost monitoring is simple and can be an enjoyable experience. Monitors identify bat roosts and sit outside the roost entrance in the evening to count the bats as they emerge. Bats will start to exit the roost just after sunset, and will emerge one or two at a time making counting easy. The bats will continue to exit for about 40 minutes. How often a roost gets counted is up to the volunteer, however the program appreciates at least two counts- one in early June and one in late July.

3) Conduct acoustic bat surveys in Wisconsin. Volunteers are trained to use handheld ultrasonic detectors, or bat detectors as they are affectionately called. The system consists of a detector that records the ultrasound, a PDA that displays the bat calls on a graph of frequency over time, and a GPS unit that tracks the route taken and pinpoints each bat call. Data is saved onto the PDA and analyzed in the office. Just like birds, bat species have different calls from each other. By looking at the frequency, shape and other characteristics of calls, the WBP can identify the species of bat that was recorded.


nQuire-it is a platform to join, create, and share citizen science missions with people around the world. There are three kinds of missions: Spot-it allows people to spot and share things around us; Sense-it links to the Android Sense-it app (available on Google Play) to capture data from any mobile device sensor; Win-it missions set science challenges.

White-throat Song

We’ve been studying changes in the song structure of white-throated sparrows since 2002 and have found several interesting patterns. Now, we’re trying to measure how these patterns change over time and space.

Here's where you come in! Recording sparrows over a broad geographical area is extremely time consuming and expensive. We’re hoping to recruit participants to help us collect recordings of male white-throated sparrows.

Volunteers can be from anywhere within the range of the species, but we are especially interested in recordings from Eastern Ontario eastward to the Atlantic provinces, and across the northern tier of states in the US from Wisconsin to Maine.

We're happy to get recordings from all regions at all times of year (pre-migration, migration, and breeding are all fine).

For more information about our project or how to get involved, please see our website.

South Texas Wintering Birds

Contribute your observations to a database for the state of Texas. Whether you are on a large private ranch, small yard in the city, or public nature area -- if you go birding, we need your sightings. Help us better understand the richness, abundance and changes in bird life in Texas!

Mourning Warbler Song Mapper

The Mourning Warbler Song Mapper is a citizen science project that will map the songs of males during spring migration.

Counter Culture Labs

Come help us build a new community lab for the East Bay, focused on DIY biology and citizen science. A place to explore, learn, work on fun projects, tinker with biology and other sciences. Open to biotech professionals, scientists, and citizen scientists of all stripes. Be part of our community of creative thinkers, hackers and mad scientists!

Noise map

Noise around us can increase stress and make it difficult to concentrate. This project will help you map your surrounding noise, compare it to other places and decide whether you live in a noisy environment.


Experiment is a crowdfunding platform for scientific research. We want to allow anyone with a credit card to be a modern day patron of science.

Emotional Load of Calls

Assist in research investigating the evolutionary and ethological foundations of dog-human relationship. Dogs, like other animals, communicate through vocalization. They communicate their needs and desires, and they can also communicate their emotions.

The Emotional load of calls is a 30 minute survey, with two optional pauses after 10-minute intervals. You will hear human and dog calls, and your task is to mark the sound sample based on the caller's emotional state and intensity

Canid Howl Project

Come listen to the enchanting, haunting sounds of wolves, coyotes, and dogs, and help us better understand and conserve these species.

Analysing these recordings is difficult and time consuming. It's easy to make mistakes, and mistakes can change the conclusions that we draw. But here's where you can help! By having hundreds, even thousands of volunteers giving their own analysis of the canid howls, we can investigate the role of these sounds, and understand more about the social behaviour of the whole range of canid species and breeds.

You can also donate your dog's howl for the project.

Yellowhammer Dialects

Project aims to compare distribution of yellowhammer dialects in the UK and in New Zealand, where were yellowhammers imported in the 19th century. Whether any new songs evolved during isolation is only one of the questions that intrigue us. The other is, whether current distribution of dialects reflects well the known history, reconstructed from the available information about introduction events (when, where and in which numbers were yellowhammers released) and about subsequent spread.

OSF SciNet

Problem: Scientific citations are frequently constrained by terms-of-use or within proprietary systems making it difficult to see connections in the literature.

Solution: OSF SciNet uses the open source Citelet extension to crowdsource a free, open, and comprehensive metadata dataset of scientific citations and corresponding references to unlock the citation network.

Impact: The dataset generated through this project will make it easier to see the connections in the scientific literature and to promote open science.

Pathways: Wildlife Corridors of NM

Pathways: Wildlife Corridors of NM runs a wildlife track and sign monitoring program, documenting "common" species before they become "uncommon". 6 Focal Species include, Black Bear, Elk, Mule Deer, Bobcat, Pronghorn, and Mountain Lion. We monitor transects between the mountain ranges of New Mexico, documenting the movements of these large mammals between the mountains and the river valleys.


ISeeChange is a socially networked weather Almanac for communities to collectively journal their climate experiences -- their observations, feelings, questions, and decisions --- against near-real time climate information.

This groundbreaking environmental reporting project combines citizen science, participatory public media, and cutting-edge satellite monitoring of environmental conditions.

Incubated in 2012 by producer Julia Kumari Drapkin at Colorado public station KVNF Mountain Grown Community Radio via AIR’s Localore project, iSeeChange is poised to expand in 2015. The team will work with media and scientific partners across the country to help audiences document environmental shifts in their backyards and connect to the bigger-picture climate changes transforming all of our lives and livelihoods.


AirCasting is an open-source, end-to-end solution for collecting, displaying, and sharing health and environmental data using your smartphone. The platform consists of wearable sensors that detect changes in your environment and physiology, including a palm-sized air quality monitor called the AirBeam, the AirCasting Android app, the AirCasting website, and wearable LED accessories. By documenting and leveraging health and environmental data to inform personal decision-making and public policy, the AirCasting platform empowers citizen scientists and changemakers.

Project Nighthawk

The call of the Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor) was once a familiar sound in cities and towns throughout New Hampshire, where they nested on flat, peastone gravel roofs and fed on insects attracted to city lights. In recent years, nesting nighthawks have disappeared from many New Hampshire towns; in the few places where they remain (including Keene), their numbers have dramatically declined. Biologists are now trying to determine the cause for this precipitous decline.

In partnership with New Hampshire Audubon and in efforts to conserve this state-threatened species, the Harris Center for Conservation Education coordinates volunteer nighthawk surveys on summer evenings in Keene.

Community of Observers

Get to know the nature of YOUR world! The Fairbanks Community of Observers is to encourage greater public clarity around environmental indicators of climate change in Vermont and northern New Hampshire. Using the website developed by the Fairbanks Museum, we'll collect your quantitative data focused on the life cycles of specific birds, butterflies and wildflowers that are sensitive to environmental change as well as seasonal weather data that is characteristic to our region.

The Community of Observers is for individuals, families, clubs, groups and schools. It is designed to encourage citizen scientists to gain a deeper understanding of the cycles and patterns that characterize our region through the seasons, and how the habitats that depend on these cycles might be affected by global climate shifts.

Bat Detective

Bat Detective is an online citizen science project which allows visitors to the website to take part in wildlife conservation by listening out for bat calls in recordings collected all over the world.

By sorting the sounds in the recordings into insect and bat calls, bat detectives will help biologists learn how to reliably distinguish bat 'tweets' to develop new automatic identification tools.

Bats use lots of different types of sounds, from singing to each other to find a mate, to using the echoes from their tweets to find their way around. Usually bat sounds are inaudible to humans as they are too high for us to hear, but special 'time expansion' ultrasonic detectors convert these sounds to a lower frequency, and visitors to the Bat Detective website can listen to these unique recordings and help distinguish different sounds.

One out of every five species of bats is threatened with extinction and better automatic identification tools are desperately needed to quickly process vast amounts of sound data collected by volunteers from the bat monitoring programme iBats who survey bat populations each year.

Bats are found all over the world from local parks to pristine rainforests and monitoring their population trends provides an important indicator of healthy ecosystems. Developing new tools that allow biologists to interpret population trends from sound will allow bats' tweets to act as a way to track environmental change.

Bat Detective was developed at University College London, Bat Conservation Trust, Bat Life Europe with the Citizen Science Alliance.

Sing About Science

SingAboutScience dot org has a searchable database which teachers and others can use to find content-rich songs on specific scientific and mathematical topics. Finding and cataloguing all relevant songs is a challenge, however, and volunteers can be used to help with this. Other possible work might entail technical development of the website and assessment of its usability.

Science Hack Day

Science Hack Day is a 48-hour-all-night event that brings together designers, developers, scientists and other geeks in the same physical space for a brief but intense period of collaboration, hacking, and building 'cool stuff'. By collaborating on focused tasks during this short period, small groups of hackers are capable of producing remarkable results. Some Hack Days have a specific focus. There have already been very successful Music Hack Days and Government Hack Days. It's time for a Hack Day focused on science!


Currently over 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. Being continuously surrounded by traffic jams, construction sites and urban events, city dwellers are typically exposed to a considerable amount of noise. NoiseTube facilitate sound measuring at any place and any time through a mobile app which exploits basic smartphone functionalities, namely microphone, wireless connectivity and localisation through GPS. Through these three components NoiseTube transforms already ubiquitous smartphones into highly portable, accessible sound measurement devices, enabling all citizens to measure ambient sound levels whenever and wherever they please.

The NoiseTube website collects all user measurements and visualises them on Google Maps. Given enough measurements for a particular area, we can construct noise maps of comparable quality to those produced by governments today, which are of a very different kind. Indeed, pollution maps are typically created through computer simulations based on general statistics, such as the average number of cars in the city. They are backed up only by limited amounts of sound measurements because current measuring methods are expensive and thus not very scalable. The resulting maps give an average but not at all a complete view on the situation, entirely missing local variations due to street works, neighbour noise &tc.

NoiseTube is user-friendly, free and open source and is used by citizens all over the world, for individual use as well as for measuring campaigns by citizen action groups. It is a tool with which citizens can estimate the quality of their daily environment and how it is affected by their behavior, and as such provides support for awareness-building as well as for undertaking bottom-up, citizen-steered actions to solve local issues.

Project Calliope

Project Calliope is an upcoming orbiting satellite that will convert Earth's ionosphere to music for people to share. Calliope lets people get a sense of how active space is. Calliope will measure the ionosphere for its 12-week life and transmit that data as sonified MIDI data (akin to sheet music) so anyone with a ham radio or web connection can listen to it-- or remix it into their own music compositions. It is planned to launch into orbit in late 2011.

FrogWatch USA™

FrogWatch USA Chapters are overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and are hosted and managed by zoos, aquariums, and like-minded organizations.

At training sessions hosted by a local chapter, volunteers learn to identify local frog and toad species by their calls during the breeding season and how to report their findings accurately. By mastering these skills, volunteers gain increased experience and control over asking and answering scientific questions which, in turn, augments science literacy, facilitates conservation action and stewardship, and increases knowledge of amphibians.


SKYWARN is a national network of over 300,000 volunteer weather spotters that is managed by NOAA's National Weather Service. The spotters are trained by one of the 122 local National Weather Service Forecast Offices on how to spot severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail, and flooding. In some parts of the country, spotters also report snowfall and ice accumulation.

During hazardous weather, such as severe thunderstorms, floods, tornadoes, snow and ice storms, SKYWARN volunteers report what is happening at their location. They are asked to report whenever certain criteria are met such as when one inch of rain has fallen, four inches of snow is on the ground, a thunderstorm is producing hail, or trees have been blown down.

Frog Listening Network

The Frog Listening Network trains community volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to collect data about frog and toad populations in west-central Florida. Volunteers learn how to identify amphibians both by sound and by sight.

Volunteers receive free trainings complete with educational materials such as audiotapes and compact discs, CD-ROMs, and full-color field identification cards to help learn each amphibian species and their individual calls. Volunteers also learn how to collect and record frog population data in a way that's fun and easy.

Amphibians are considered "sentinels" of environmental health because of their sensitive skin. Their populations are declining worldwide, so frog and toad populations need to be monitored in Florida. By watching them and keeping track of their populations, we can begin to understand the health of the environment. It is difficult to assemble a professional team to do this, which is why the project relies on the help of volunteers. Although similar to other amphibian monitoring groups across the country, the Frog Listening Network is the only group of its kind in west-central Florida.

Along with additional environmentally important data collected by others, the frog data are compiled into an annual report that is made available for use by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the National Amphibian Monitoring Program. These data help to paint a picture of the health of the environment.

Sound Around You Project

I am building a sound map of the world as part of a study into how sounds in our everyday environment make us feel. We need your help!

We’re asking people across the world to use our new iOS app on their iPhones or iPads (or any recorder) to record short clips from different sound environments, or "soundscapes"--anything from the inside of a family car to a busy shopping centre. Then we ask volunteers to comment on their soundscapes and upload them to our virtual soundscape map.

Recordings and responses will be analyzed by acoustic scientists, and significant findings will be reported on this website.

Sound Around You aims to raise awareness of how our soundscape influences us, and could have far reaching implications for professions and social groups ranging from urban planners to house buyers.

Orca Project

Orca Project volunteers in Port Townsend, Washington document orca bones for an online bone atlas, assist in orca education with children's groups, take part in assembling a full-size skeleton for display, participate in the design of a new orca exhibit and conduct research on underwater sounds using a hydrophone.

The project’s goals are to improve public awareness of the challenges faced by killer whales--toxic contamination, underwater noise pollution, and diminishing food supplies in the Puget Sound--as well as develop an appreciation for the whales’ remarkable social bonds and communication abilities.

Funded by the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, other organizations, and matching funds, the Orca Project will focus on both the transient and resident killer whales seen in the Northwest United States.

The Orca Project will also offer public lectures, free science classes for Olympic Peninsula students, tours of articulated whale skeletons for school classes, hands-on activities for after-school groups, Bring Your Bones Day (a community event with resident experts helping identify and reveal the mysteries of bones), and focused outreach to the maritime and marine community of Port Townsend, Washington.

Killer Whale Tracker

The Salish Sea Hydrophone Network needs volunteers to help monitor the critical habitat of endangered Pacific Northwest killer whales by detecting orca sounds and measuring ambient noise levels. Volunteers are especially needed to help notify researchers when orcas are in the Salish Sea, which encompasses the waters of Puget Sound and the surrounding area.

Sponsored by a coalition of organizations, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Whale Museum, and Beam Reach Marine Science, the network consists of five hydrophones, each hooked up to a computer to analyze the signal and stream it via the internet.

Even though software is used to distinguish animal from other underwater sound, human ears do a better job of detecting unusual sounds. So volunteers monitor the network from their home computers anywhere in the world, and alert the rest of the network when they hear whale sounds. Sometimes boats or onshore monitors are deployed to study the whales in other ways. Researchers hope to learn more about the uses of orca communications and whale migration patterns.

Interactive NASA Space Physics Ionosphere Radio Experiments (INSPIRE)

INSPIRE volunteers use build-it-yourself kits to measure and record very low frequency radio emissions. These include naturally occurring "sferics" (short for "atmospherics") often generated by lightning and known as "tweeks," "whistlers," and "chorus" as well as man-made emissions.

There is a great deal of scientific curiosity about the nature and generation mechanisms of natural very low frequency radio emissions and how they interact with the Earth's ionosphere and magnetic fields. INSPIRE is taking an active role in furthering the investigation of very low frequency emissions by involving citizen volunteers in its research.

INSPIRE represents a rare opportunity to work with real NASA space scientists on real scientific problems.

Physics Songs

Physics Songs aims to be the world's premier website devoted to collecting and organizing all songs about physics. It is managed by Walter F. Smith, Professor of Physics at Haverford College.

Songs about physics can help students to remember critical concepts and formulas, but perhaps more importantly they communicate the lesson that physics can be fun. They certainly help to establish an informal classroom atmosphere, in which even shy students are willing to ask questions.

The songs may also activate a different part of the students' brains.

Laser Harp: Build It Yourself

A recent issue of Make magazine (http://makezine.com/15/) was devoted to build-them-yourself, high-tech musical instruments. Among the most impressive is a laser harp invented by tech musician Stephen Hobley.

You coax out the computer-generated sounds by waving your hands to break the light beams and change their lengths.

To build a laser harp, you’ll need to be comfortable with such things as MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) technology, circuit boards, photo cells, voltage regulators, and computers. If you’re not a serious amateur music technologist who’s been tinkering for years in the garage, you’ll need to buy or collect a significant amount of hardware and software.

Stephen’s article in Make does include a simpler project—a single-beam “laser theremin,” as opposed to the six-beam laser harp. But even that’s a pretty complex gizmo. (Note: We received an email from Geoffrey Rose notifying us that he invented the Laser Harp.)

Related Material:
* To see and hear Stephen playing his harp, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCgMsrSaYwY&feature=player_embedded.
* Build a Laser Harp, Make Music With Light (Science Cheerleader): http://www.sciencecheerleader.com/2008/10/build_a_laser_harp_make_music_with_light/

Perfect Pitch Test

The Perfect Pitch Test is a study to determine whether absolute pitch differs systematically for different timbres. Your participation involves a brief survey and a pitch-naming test and will make an important contribution to auditory research.

Do you have absolute pitch, the ability to identify or recreate a musical note without any reference? If so, researchers at the Perfect Pitch Test need your help.

The National Science Digital Library

The National Science Digital Library encourages citizens to help enlarge and strengthen their library of high quality resources and tools that support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.

Developers of content in these subject areas, National Science Foundation grantees, educators and learners, and all other members of the community are welcome to recommend digital resources for the library. These resources include activities, lesson plans, Web sites, simulations, or any materials that help educators meet the demands of an increasingly complex technology-based world.

As a national network of learning environments, resources, and partnerships, the National Science Digital Library seeks to serve a vital role in educational cyberlearning for the nation, meeting the informational and technological needs of educators and learners at all levels.

Cricket Crawl DC/Baltimore

Discover Life is calling all citizen scientists in the DC/Baltimore area to help them map out the occurence of crickets and katydids through the city and suburbs of Baltimore, Maryland, Washington, DC and Northern Virginia. Participants can track the sounds of these insects during the annual Cricket Crawl event held on the evening of Friday, August 26th 2016.

This project is a collaborative venture between Discover Life, The Audubon Naturalist Society, The Natural History Society of Maryland and the USGS

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