Citizen Science projects on-line

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Sandra Porter

Next Saturday afternoon, at ScienceOnline2010, the science goddess, the chemspider, and I will be presenting a workshop on getting students involved in citizen science.

In preparation, I'm compiling a set of links to projects that involve students in citizen science. If you know of any good citizen science efforts, please share them in the comments.

Here we go!

Before I start listing links, I am limiting this list to projects that allow both students and citizen scientists to participate. I know of plenty of student projects, where students can isolate phage and annotate their genomes or help annotate bacterial and archea genomes, but outside of approved student groups, no one else is really allowed to participate. So, I consider those to be student projects, but since they're not open to other citizens, I don't think they count as citizen science.

National programs:
Project Budburst: gives both students and non-students a chance to get a first-hand look at climate change.
Their site has great information on botany with wonderful pictures and places to report data.

Nature Mapping: as the Nature Mapping site states: "knowledge is power." Nature mappers are a bit like the e-birders. They record what they see and where they see it.

Nature mapping involves students in identifying and counting diverse species in diverse places. I went to the one of the Nature Mapping training sessions in October. There are Nature mapping projects for all levels of students and an on-line database with data to analyze.

The Nature mapping program that I attended was focused on intertidal creatures, however students are doing all kinds of interesting things in this program. In project CAT, for example, K-12 students are participating in an 8 year study to learn about cougars that reside in the region and their prey.

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Fig. 1. Sorry guys, they study bigger cats.

Washington programs:

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center
PTMSC has several research programs involving volunteers and students.
These include projects on water quality, marine mammals, plastics, invasive species monitoring, and more.

SoundCitizen
This is a non-profit group based at the UW School ofOceanography. Currently, they have a project where students and citizens gather water samples from Puget Sound and the samples are tested for spices and flavoring agents.

WSU beach walkers
Washington State University is quite a long way from the beach, nevertheless, they're a very active citizen science group. I wish there was a chapter in King County since I walk on the beach there quite a bit. They gather data on dead sea birds, algae blooms, intertidal stuff, invasive stuff, plastics, and all sorts of things, and enter the data in on-line databases.

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Fig. 2. A crow monitors the beach at Golden Gardens