Archive for the ‘Amphibians’ tag

Wildlife Disease Citizen Science

By 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!

Make a Difference by Counting Croaks

By August 18th, 2015 at 10:32 pm | Comment

White lipped tree frog (by Felanox/Wikipedia,/CC BY-SA 3.0)

White lipped tree frog (by Felanox/Wikipedia,/CC BY-SA 3.0)

This is an except of a story that ran in the February 2015 issue of Association of Zoos and Aquariums monthly magazine, Connect.

Looking for amphibious citizen science projects? Look no further! SciStarter has some lined up for you right here.

By Cathie Gandel

At dusk, Carolyn Rinaldi and her 14-year-old daughter sit silently on the shores of the lake at Wadsworth Falls State Park in Middletown, Conn. Then their ears go into overdrive. For three minutes they count the different grunts, gribbets, croaks and peeps emanating from frogs and toads resident in the wetlands. Read the rest of this entry »

Coop’s Scoop: Amphibian and Reptile Citizen Science on the next #CitSciChat

By August 4th, 2015 at 5:59 pm | Comment

Cuban Rock Iguana (photo by Staselnik)

Cuban Rock Iguana (photo by Staselnik)

There are millions of people taking part in citizen science across the world, and thousands of practitioners – scientists, educators, computer scientists, and activists – organizing citizen science projects. Citizen science has emerged as a new discipline, with novel ways of enabling scientific research, informing policy and conservation, and motivating learning.

New organizations, such as the Citizen Science Association, the European Citizen Science Association, and Citizen Science Network Australia, are helping practitioners connect with each other to solidify best practices and training. Other organizations provide cyberinfrastructure to help administer citizen science projects, like Zooniverse for online projects and CitSci.org and Wildbook for field projects. Other organizations, like Public Lab and Global Community Monitor, support grassroots citizen science. Still other organizations, like SciStarter, connect participants with projects. Read the rest of this entry »

California Dreaming

By July 21st, 2015 at 9:48 pm | Comment

Red-eared Slider (Photo by Gregory Pauly)

Red-eared Slider (Photo by Gregory Pauly)

Citizen scientists document in collaboration with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles help document reptiles and amphbians in Southern California to aid in conservation efforts. Find more information about participating in RASCals, the citizen science project on SciStarter and watch out for our herptile themed newsletter!

by Sharman Apt Russell

This June, I walked the wilds of Los Angeles looking for lizards. And snakes. And turtles. And because I was finally looking for them, I also began seeing them—and isn’t that a basic truth of life as well as  citizen science?

I visit Los Angeles for ten days twice a year as a teacher for the low-residency MFA graduate writing program at Antioch University. My time in nature is mostly spent in a few long runs near my hotel and in walking back and forth from the hotel to the university campus. This summer, wherever I went, I also took along my camera. I was on a mission for the Reptiles and Amphibians of Southern California (RASCals) citizen science project—to document any reptile or amphibian I came across and to send that image to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Snapshots in Time’: Spotting a Spotted Salamander

By April 13th, 2015 at 9:06 am | Comment 1

Citizen scientists on a field trip to spot wood frogs and spotted salamanders. Image Credit: Chase Mclean.

Citizen scientists on a field trip to spot wood frogs and spotted salamanders. Image Credit: Chase Mclean.

by Aditi Joshi

Are you a resident of the northern US or Canada? You can help scientists to spot amphibians!

Welcome Spring! As the temperature rises, the beauty of spring unfolds: snow melts, flowers bloom, and birds begin to chirp. In the amphibian world, spring marks the beginning of breeding activities. Among amphibians, wood frogs and spotted salamanders are usually the first to breed, laying eggs (spawns) in short-lived pools, ponds and wetlands.

Scientists like Dr. Stephen Spear, from the Orianne Society, are interested in monitoring amphibian breeding activity for further insight into the effect of climatic changes on certain ecosystems. For instance, a cold spell in spring may disrupt the breeding activities of amphibians. Additionally, the presence of commonly found amphibian species, such as wood frogs and spotted salamanders, indicates a relatively healthy landscape, which helps determine important conservation areas.

Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) in wetlands. Image Credit: Pete Oxford

Spotted Salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) in wetlands. Image Credit: Pete Oxford

Monitoring the timing of breeding activity can be tricky. Wood frogs and spotted salamanders are found in wetlands across various states, including Alaska, southeastern states such as Georgia and Tennessee, northeastern states such as New York and Maine, and large parts of Canada. Realizing a small team would be ineffective in monitoring wood frogs and spotted salamanders widely distributed across the U.S. and Canada, the scientists sought support from citizen scientists.

Last year, the Orianne Society launched the citizen science project ‘Snapshots in Time’, providing participants with a unique opportunity to identify, observe, and photograph the various stages of amphibian life that they found near their homes. In 2014, citizen scientists contributed over 100 such observations. More observations reported from southern states as compared to northern states, likely due to the differences in the breeding season. In states such as North Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan, breeding season spans from April to June, unlike southern states where breeding activity begins in January. This year, the project hopes for more observations from the northern states. Compared to the adult and egg stages of amphibian life, larvae are more difficult to spot, and only 15 percent of the observations were of the larvae and metamorphic stages. Some participants were able to see a fascinating courtship ritual – a well choreographed dance by salamanders to attract their partners.

According to Dr. Spear, spotted salamanders live on land but breed in wetlands. People who study spotted salamanders look forward to ‘mass migration’, an intriguing breeding activity where, on a rainy night, salamanders parade en masse from land to wetlands. That’s an exciting natural history experience.

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Visit Snapshots in Time on SciStarter and learn how to participate.

If you loved reading about this citizen science project from SciStarter, use our project finder to search our database of more than 1000 projects! What’s more, subscribe to our newsletter and we’ll send you handpicked citizen science projects once every two weeks!


 

Aditi Joshi, a freelance science writer, is an expert in the field of clinical psychophysiology. She holds a PhD in Human Physiology from the University of Oregon and has published several academic papers. Apart from science, she is interested in Native American art, and art history.