On this, National Squirrel Day, we feature Craig Newmark and squirrelly citizen science.

SciStarter asked Craig Newmark (of Craigslist fame) why he likes squirrels. He told us that it all started with a simple desire to feed birds. But the suet palaces he was using to dispense the raw, fat-based bird food were constantly getting hacked by squirrels. He tried everything; he even upgraded to “squirrel-resistant” models, to … Read more “On this, National Squirrel Day, we feature Craig Newmark and squirrelly citizen science.”

Categories: Animals, Citizen Science, Climate & Weather, Contest, Ecology & Environment, Guest Contributor, Nature & Outdoors

Help find ways to prevent the common cold and flu!

As cold and flu season approaches in the Northern Hemisphere, many people are starting to think about what they can do to avoid getting sick. To help prevent illnesses, public health advice needs to be based on solid scientific evidence. The Health Tracking Network is a citizen science project designed to fill some of these … Read more “Help find ways to prevent the common cold and flu!”

Categories: Guest Contributor, Health

“Citizens Have Contributed One Million Observations to Top Nature Database.”

RESTON, Va. — Thanks to citizen-scientists around the country, the USA National Phenology Network hit a major milestone this week by reaching its one millionth nature observation. The millionth observation was done by Lucille Tower, a citizen-scientist in Portland, Ore., who entered a record about seeing maple vines flowering. Her data, like all of the … Read more ““Citizens Have Contributed One Million Observations to Top Nature Database.””

Categories: Citizen Science, Guest Contributor

Aquarium microbial ecology: a living room approach to citizen science

Sergei Winogradsky discovered nitrifying bacteria in 1890, recognizing that these microbes convert ammonia to nitrate (via nitrite). In aquatic environments, ammonia toxicity to fish is avoided almost exclusively due to the activity of these bacteria…or so it was thought. The ability to remove (or oxidize) ammonia was discovered recently in Archaea, which are an entirely … Read more “Aquarium microbial ecology: a living room approach to citizen science”

Categories: Citizen Science, Ecology & Environment, Guest Contributor

Incentives for citizen scientists: report, recruit, verify

For most people, a citizen science project provides a way to address a specific scientific challenge with the help of volunteers. For a group of researchers from MIT, UCSD, Masdar Institute, and University of Southampton, it is also an opportunity to study what motivates people to join the project. Would you rather receive a badge, … Read more “Incentives for citizen scientists: report, recruit, verify”

Categories: Citizen Science, Guest Contributor

Who’s the boss: Home or human microbiomes?

Most of us are aware of the bacteria on the surfaces we come in contact with. The doorknob for the bathroom, coins and paper currency in our pockets, handrails in subway cars, computer keyboards and mice at the library… the list of built environments on which microbes thrive is nearly endless. In our preoccupation with … Read more “Who’s the boss: Home or human microbiomes?”

Categories: Citizen Science, Guest Contributor

Studying Dragonfly Swarms with Citizen Science

In July of 2009, a friend and I arrived at a lake to collect water samples for work. We had worked at the lake many times, but something was different that day: several hundred dragonflies were flying over the grass. We often saw dragonflies, but there were 50 times the usual number and they weren’t … Read more “Studying Dragonfly Swarms with Citizen Science”

Categories: Animals, Biology, Citizen Science, Ecology & Environment, Guest Contributor, In the News, Insects, Nature & Outdoors, Ocean & Water

Leafsnap: a mobile app to identify tree species

I love being in the outdoors amongst nature – but then who doesn’t? I also have a fascination for all things technological. Sadly, all too often these two passions are incompatible. For as us techie-lovers know, too many an hour can be spent cooped up inside staring at a computer screen. The emergence of the … Read more “Leafsnap: a mobile app to identify tree species”

Categories: Apps, Biology, Computers & Technology, Ecology & Environment, Guest Contributor, Nature & Outdoors, Science Education Standards