Some of you may have fond memories of summers spent kneeling by nearby streams, peering intently for crayfish to play with (or cook up for dinner!). These tiny, lobster-like creatures are a staple of freshwater ecosystems, southern menus, and even neuroscience classes. (No kidding — I learned about action potentials from a wonderful college professor who studies crayfish!)
Not all crayfish are alike — some native species of crawdad are being outcompeted by invasive, non-native species. Indeed, nearly half of the North American crayfish varieties are considered to be threatened.
To combat the non-native invasion, Craywatch.org is enlisting citizen scientists to monitor the spread of invasive crayfish in North America. To participate, all you need is a smartphone with a camera and a GPS tag! Find a crayfish, snap a couple of close-ups, and upload to the group’s Flickr account. Presto — you’re a citizen scientist!
Craywatch is just getting started and it needs your help! Now that summer weather has hit, what better time to explore a nearby stream? Visit the project website or send Dr. Faulkes an email today to get going!