Be thankful for your gut microbes this Thanksgiving

By Guest November 22nd, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Comment

By: Daniel McDonald

While you kick back and relax after your Thanksgiving dinner,  your gut microbiota – the collection of beneficial microbes, mostly bacteria, that inhabit your lower intestine – will be hard at work breaking down the food you ate and carrying out all kinds of other essential functions.  Research on the microbes that call your intestine home has shown they can affect your brain, treat a hospital-acquired condition called Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), and much more. Did you know that you can change them by exercise or travel, and you can change them much more by jetlag? Since 2012, the American Gut Project (AGP) has been collecting gut microbiome data from citizens scientists all over the world to understand the extent of microbial diversity associated with humans. Read the rest of this entry »

Happy Thanksgiving!

By Sarah Newman November 22nd, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Comment

Ben Kreckx

All of us at SciStarter want to thank you for learning about, sharing, or engaging in science. You inspire us. Thank you.

Below, you’ll find a cornucopia full of Thanksgiving-themed citizen science projects. Gobble ’em up!

Cheers!

The SciStarter Team

Read the rest of this entry »

How Collective Data Contributes to The Science of Breeding Healthier Dogs

By Guest November 16th, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Comment

3 Month Old “Samba,” is genetically free of the gene that leads to Primary Lens Luxation, a blinding eye disease affecting the lens.

By Katherine Leviste

Next Thursday, T.V. viewers across the country will watch Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers,  Portuguese Water Dogs, and other purebreds trot around the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in a Thanksgiving tradition that ranks right up there with parades and football: the National Dog Show. As the dogs sit, stand, and jog, licensed judges evaluate them based on a set of standard character and physical appearance expectations for each breed.

Behind those expectations lie a collection of inherited factors that influence the competition dogs’ bone structure, movement, and behavior. These characteristics and the genetics behind them are hot topics in the realm of dog shows and performance sports such as agility and tracking. Yet research on these traits across populations and generations remains a challenge: while most purebred dog breeders keep meticulous records of their own dogs’ health and performance, accessibility to these records is limited to those active in the show or performance circuits

Read the rest of this entry »

Third annual Citizen Science Day celebrates discovery, innovation, and better understanding of our world through public participation in science.

By Guest November 14th, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Comment

SciStarter, the Citizen Science Association, and the Citizen Science Day Working Group are excited to present Citizen Science Day on Saturday April 14th, 2018! The third annual Citizen Science Day celebrates the work of citizen scientists and the diversity of citizen science projects across the world, encourages the public to get involved, and connects people to the power of citizen science.

Many may not realize the powerful contributions that citizen science makes to scientific discovery, monitoring, and innovation – and many may not know that they can be a part of those efforts. Citizen Science Day is a chance see how we can all make a difference by sharing what we see and what we know – whether that is mapping for disaster relief, helping find cures for diseases, or ensuring our streams are clean,” says Jennifer Shirk Director of the Citizen Science Association.

Organizations from museums, aquariums, nature centers, government agencies, universities, parks departments, and more have participated in the 2016 and 2017 Citizen Science Day. See the 2017 and 2016 events archived online.

Your organization can celebrate citizen science in many ways:

  1. Host a program on or around April 14th to increase awareness of citizen science and/or to let people participate in citizen science. Past examples include transcription challenges, citizen science hikes, BioBlitzes, hack-a-thons, festivals, science marches, and more.
  2. Outreach for your citizen science projects and recruit volunteers with an open house or training events.
  3. Highlight your standout citizen scientists from the year by recognizing their contributions.
  4. Promote citizen science through your social media platforms to help bring awareness about the breadth and depth of projects and the many ways to become a citizen scientist
  5. Launch that citizen science project you’ve been waiting to get started.
  6. Convene a regional meeting of citizen science practitioners, scientists, land managers, and local government to exchange ideas and create broader impacts for citizen science in your area.
  7. Or come up with your own way to celebrate the day!

Also be sure to check in with the Citizen Science Day webpage on the Citizen Science Association site for more ideas, resources, and other helpful tips for celebrating and promoting citizen science on April 14!

Once you plan your event, add it to the SciStarter Citizen Science Day Calendar so people can find it! SciStarter will share events through  syndicated partners including Discover Magazine, Astronomy Magazine, PBS, PLoS, National Science Teacher’s Association, Philly.com, Girl Scouts, and more!

“Adding a Citizen Science Day event or project to SciStarter benefits three audiences,” said Darlene Cavalier, Founder of SciStarter. “Event organizers can easily promote events and recruit participants; the public can find and join events and projects; and researchers can analyze data about the projects and events and study the movement and outcomes of people engaged these events.”

We are excited to celebrate citizen science with you on April 14!


For more information about Citizen Science Day, contact the task force:

Lila Higgins (lhiggins@nhm.org)

Catherine Hoffman (catherine@scistarter.com)

Alison Young (ayoung@calacademy.org)

Interested in supporting Citizen Science Day? We’re actively looking for funders and sponsors. Contact us for more information.

(What’s your citizen science profile? Create yours today! )

Science’s Next Frontier? It’s Civic Engagement

By Guest November 13th, 2017 at 4:30 pm | Comment

By Louise Lief

Every day, it seems, brings more dispiriting news to the science world. The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is removing research scientists from the agency’s advisory boards and has forbidden some of them from speaking at conferences. The Government Accounting Office is investigating reports that the current administration is violating scientific integrity policies at federal agencies. The Trump administration has proposed deep budget cuts at scientific agencies.

But scientists’ problems run deeper. According to a number of recent surveys, there has been a rapid decline in knowledge about and sympathy for scientists and the institutions where many of them work, particularly among Republican and Republican-leaning voters. Politicians from the same party who now govern in over 32 states, the White House, and Congress are aware of these sentiments. Read the rest of this entry »