Dive Into Summer Citizen Science

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As we approach the Dog Days of Summer, Sirius, the dog star, makes its appearance in the northern hemisphere, bringing scorching heat, fever, mad dogs and bad luck. So it’s only sensible to take our CitSci activities to the nearest body of cool water, be it a lake, river, stream, ocean or wading pool. In that spirit, we present our annual Under the Sea collection of Little Mermaid-approved science projects.

Stay cool!
The SciStarter Team

The Whale Shark is the world’s biggest fish (so large it refers to great white sharks as “my little guppy friends”). Join Wildbook for Whale Sharks to share field observations of these amazing animals, or adopt one of over 11,000 whale sharks, like “Zeke.” Donating to adopt a shark means that not only are you supporting a global library, but you’ll also receive updates each time your shark friend is spotted!

Location: Global

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Orcas of the north Pacific sing joyously, like there’s no one listening. Presumably, they’d be mortified to discover that there are underwater microphones placed throughout the Salish Sea, with Orcasound volunteers like you listening in 24/7 and reporting what they hear to the project leads.

Photo credit: NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

Location: Online

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Fishery biologists can’t monitor even a fraction of the world’s freshwater lakes and streams. You can help them out by using MyCatch to report your fishing results. Importantly, they don’t reveal your secret fishing spots to others; the data is protected.

Photo credit: US Forest Service – Southern Region

Location: Global

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Love history and looking at pictures of fish from home? Then FishSTORY could be just your cup of chowder! Peruse photos from the mid-20th century for anything that looks fishy, and then report the species and number of fish you spot.

Photo credit: Rusty Hudson, Hudson, Stone and Timmons Families

Location: Online

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Founded by California surfers dedicated to monitoring Pacific coastal waters, Surfrider now operates nationally. You can volunteer to monitor water quality even if you’re just a hodad, shubie, barney, grom or paddlepuss (surfspeak for “not an actual surfer”). Join the Blue Water Task Force chapter nearest you!

Photo credit: Tom Walker

Location: United States

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While oceans and rivers get most of the aquatic ecosystem attention, lakes are critically important biodiversity hotspots and many are seriously degraded. You can help protect them by downloading the Lake Observer app land collecting lake data.

Photo credit: sabri ismail from Pixabay

Location: Global

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Join over a million and a half volunteers from 146 countries in the EarthEcho Water Challenge! Purchase a water test kit (about $25 for single basic kits; $68 for classroom kits), collect data on basic water quality parameters (temperature, pH, clarity and dissolved oxygen) and then share your data with their large research database to help protect waterways around the planet.

Location: Global

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The new summer series “Summer Reading Meets Citizen Science,” presented by the Network of the National Library of Medicine and SciStarter in partnership with public libraries, helps keep students, adults, and families engaged with reading and research to prevent “summer slide” learning loss. All events are online and open to all. RSVP today for events throughout July, August and the beginning of September.

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SciStarter has partnered with Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Arizona State University to bring citizen science to 50 and older communities with an online event series.

In each event, attendees learn everything they need to know to start contributing to real and important scientific research – all from the comfort of their own homes. These projects are fun by yourself, with a partner, or even as a way to connect family as you do projects together (while being physically apart). Invite friends, family, and loved ones (open to all!) to register with the bit.ly/OSHERCitSci link.

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QuestaGame is a free-to-play, outdoor mobile adventure game that is fun for all ages. You can participate in QuestaGame year-round, but from August 1-30, QuestaGame is running a Global Schools BioQuest.

As part of this BioQuest, teachers and/or parents can create free teams which allow their students to work (and play) together as they compete against other teams to learn about and help protect their local biodiversity. Learn more on the SciStarter blog.

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Discover more citizen science on the SciStarter calendar. Did you know your SciStarter dashboard helps you track your contributions to projects? Complete your profile to access free tools. Want even more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

New on the Blogs

New (Beta) Feature from SciStarter: “Lists” Makes it Easy to Organize, Share and Track Engagement in Citizen Science Projects, via the SciStarter Blog

Are Clogged Blood Vessels the Key to Treating Alzheimer’s Disease? via Discover Magazine

Surfers are Picking Up the Slack to Monitor Water, via Science Connected

Categories: Citizen Science, Environment, Newsletter, Ocean & Water

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About the Author

Bob Hirshon

Bob Hirshon

Bob Hirshon, President, Springtail Media LLC Bob Hirshon heads up Springtail Media, specializing in science media and digital entertainment. He is Principle Investigator for the NSF-supported National Park Science Challenge, an augmented reality adventure that takes place in National Parks. Hirshon headed up the Kinetic City family of science projects, including the Peabody Award winning children’s radio drama Kinetic City Super Crew, McGraw-Hill book series and Codie Award winning website and education program. Hirshon can be heard on XM/Sirius Radio’s Kids Place Live as “Bob the Science Slob,” sharing science news and answering children’s questions.