Wildlife Disease Citizen Science

By Eva Lewandowski February 2nd, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Comment

Photo: USFWS

Photo: USFWS

Wild animals get sick from parasites, fungi, and other causes just like people and pets do, but they don’t usually have doctors to help them get better. Instead, you can help them with citizen science! Below, we highlight five projects that study wildlife diseases. Find more projects on SciStarter to do now, or bookmark your favorites for later!

Cheers!
The SciStarter Team

Photo: USGS
ZomBee Watch
Honey bees across North America are being infected by tiny parasites called Zombie Flies; the sick bees abandon their hives and die. Volunteers can capture honey bees and test them for the presence of the parasite.

Photo: Bethann Merkle
Bee Germs
Many bee species nest in the ground, and often we know very little about the diseases that impact them. If you have ground-nesting bees in your area, you can collect a few and send them to researchers to be tested for diseases.

Photo: NPS
Project Monarch Health
A parasite called OE affects monarchs throughout the United States; the disease causes malformations and even death. Volunteers can help track the abundance of this disease by capturing monarchs, painlessly collecting a sample of their scales, and then releasing them.

Photo: SERC
Chesapeake Bay Parasite Project
If you live in the Chesapeake Bay area, you can help survey for an invasive parasite that is infecting native mud crabs. Volunteers are needed for this summer, so use our new bookmark feature to save the project for later!

Photo: USFWS
OK Amphibian Disease Testing
Students and teachers in Oklahoma are needed to catch frogs, swab them for a fungus called chytrid (potentially lethal to frogs), and then safely release them. Request a monitoring kit now to be prepared for the March-June peak monitoring season.


Want more citizen science? Check out SciStarter’s Project Finder! With 1100+ citizen science projects spanning every field of research, task and age group, there’s something for everyone!

Help fight illegal fishing with Global Fishing Watch

By Guest January 31st, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Comment

By Adam Reyer, Project Director for Global Fishing Watch

Hundreds of millions of people depend on the ocean for their livelihoods, and almost 3 billion rely on it as a protein source. But countless threats — overfishing, destructive fishing practices, bycatch, dishonest catch reporting, habitat destruction — threaten our oceans and the people who depend on them. It’s an economic problem, too:  illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is a universal problem that accounts for 11-26 million tons of fish caught and $10-23 billion in global economic losses each year.

It seems overwhelming. But what if there was a tool that gave all people the power to become watchdogs of our oceans? How can technology help enforcement agencies to better monitor their territory at sea? How can we help identify illegal fishing and protect ocean habitats? Read the rest of this entry »

Superstition Area Land Trust Community Science

By Guest January 30th, 2017 at 8:37 pm | Comment

Guest blog post from Charles Ault, Superstition Area Land Trust (SALT) community.

SALT Citizen Science program emerges in East Valley. Rhythms of Desert Citizen Science program examines the effects of El Niño on our climate.

Four organizations dedicated to advancing scientific research, public policy,  and community-based decision making, have come together to develop a program that harnesses the interests, enthusiasm and abilities of everyday people to assist in conducting important scientific work. The Superstition Area Land Trust (SALT), Apache Junction Public Library (Library) SciStarter, and Arizona State University’s Center for Engagement and Training in Science and Society (ASU) have collaborated to establish a program called Rhythms of the Desert Citizen Science. This exciting program is currently focused on assisting NASA in collecting and studying soil, cloud and rain data in order to determine the effects of El Niño on the local climate.

Several people from the area have signed up for the program since it was first announced in early December 2016. Some have already completed online training supplied by SciStarter and have begun to collect and share data. Others are in the process of training and will soon be heading out to establish sample sites and begin data collection.

The Apache Junction Library, SciStarter and Youth Learning as Citizen Environmental Scientists (YLACES) have made it easy for folks to participate by making scientific equipment kits available, free of charge, at the Library for check-out. SALT purchased an equipment kit to add to the 3 provided by SciStarter and YLACES to enable Citizen Scientists to get started sooner.

If you are a scientist or someone who was always had an interest in science but never had the opportunity to get involved, go to http://www.azsalt.org/cspreg.html to sign-up. We will get back to you and get you on the road towards becoming a Citizen Scientist.

www.azsalt.org

www.scistarter.com,

https://science.asu.edu/center-engagement-training-science-society

www.ylaces.org

New Hope for Autoimmune Disease Treatment with Citizen Science

By Catherine Hoffman January 28th, 2017 at 9:00 am | Comment

Screen images from the Autoimmune Citizen Science app.

Nearly 50 million Americans live with one or more of 80 recognized autoimmune disorders, conditions in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells or tissues. Though widespread, the search for treatments for these conditions can be convoluted and frustrating.

Autoimmune Citizen Science founder Vivek Mandan experienced this frustration first-hand as he struggled to deal with his own autoimmune disorder.

“I spent a lot of time translating my health into data, conducting experiments on myself, combing through forums for ideas, Facebook discussion groups, blogs, and scrolling through the hundreds of articles I reflex-bookmarked trying to figure out whichever obscure theory I was experimenting with,” he said.

“I knew there had to be a tool that could help me understand my health and unified resources for combatting autoimmunity. In fact, there wasn’t, so I decided to make one.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Announcing Citizen Science Day 2017!

By Catherine Hoffman January 27th, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Comments (2)

Citizen Science Day is back!

SciStarter is excited to once again present Citizen Science Day in collaboration with the Citizen Science Association! This event is a chance to celebrate the millions of citizen scientists who have contributed countless hours to collect data in their backyard, analyze online images to cure diseases, build low-cost instruments,  and so much more! Citizen Science Day will commence on Saturday, April 15th with celebrations running through April and into May, culminating during the Citizen Science Association Conference and public science event at the Science Museum of Minnesota on May 20th. We invite citizen scientists and project leaders from around the world to celebrate citizen science during this time!

“Citizen Science Day is a way to help showcase the opportunities and contributions of citizen science – #CitSciDay activities bring attention to the ways that everyone can engage with science to make a difference in the world – whether that is helping find a cure for Alzheimer’s, using data to address sources of air pollution, or making discoveries of new phenomena in our backyards or in space,” says Jennifer Shirk of the Citizen Science Association.

Events during last year’s celebration included over 100 BioBlitzes in areas from National Parks to community green spaces, transcription challenges at local libraries, citizen science hikes, festivals, workshops, and more!

Even if there isn’t a local event planned in your community, you can participate in one of SciStarter’s thousands of citizen science projects on topics ranging from Astronomy to Zoology.

Sign Up For Updates

Are you looking to host an event?

SciStarter in collaboration with the Citizen Science Association will be hosting a webinar on February 8th from 12:00-1:00 EST all about Citizen Science Day. This free webinar will present an overview of Citizen Science Day, illustrate highlights from 2016 (the inaugural year), provide a discussion of ideas and resources for hosting events and regional meet-ups, and, in general, help you prepare for Citizen Science Day 2017! We will wrap up the webinar with a brief tutorial from Alison Young from California Academy of Sciences and Lila Higgins of the LA Natural History Museum on how to run a BioBlitz: one popular example of an event you might consider.

Once you’ve planned your event, add it to the SciStarter Events Calendar so people can find it! SciStarter will also be sharing the events through our syndicated partners including Discover Magazine, Astronomy Magazine, PBS, PLoS, NSTA, Philly.com, and more! The 2017 Citizen Science Day webpage will go live on March 1!

Interested in supporting Citizen Science Day? We’re actively looking for funders and sponsors. Contact us for more information (info@scistarter.com).