Citizen Scientist Movements You Can Contribute to Through Zooniverse

Add to Scientific Research Projects as a Citizen Scientist!

There are thousands of brilliant scientists with PhDs and decades of experience who are on the cutting edge of science and technology. But that doesn’t mean we can’t all do our part in pushing the field of science further, and thankfully Zooniverse makes this easier (and more fun) than ever! Zooniverse is online collection of scientific projects that everyday citizens – also known as citizen scientists – can take part in.

 

There are numerous different ongoing experiments that require the eyes, ears, and minds of the masses. Want to join the fight against antibiotic resistance? Or perhaps you want to further research of penguins and their environment? You can even help astronomers find ripples in the very fabric of spacetime! These and even more fantastic projects are taking place right now, and they need YOU to become a citizen scientist to help out!

 

Check out the main Zooniverse website to explore all the options for citizen scientists or scroll down to check out three projects we think could use your help.

Notes from Nature 

This project allows you to explore the hand-written notes of historical botanists. Help modernize and digitize the important work that scientists from hundreds of years ago embarked on.

 

Galaxy Zoo 

There are hundreds of billions of galaxies in our observable universe, waaaay too many for astronomers to classify on their own. This is where you come in! Analyze actual photos of distant galaxies that few humans have ever seen, and help us to better understand our universe in the process.

 

Power to the People 

Close to 1 billion people live without electricity worldwide but fixing this has proven to be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. The only way to solve this problem is to train an AI to identify homes in rural areas but training such a complex algorithm requires the help of hundreds of people... people like you!

 

We hope you enjoy these citizen scientist projects. Thank you for making a difference and furthering scientific research!

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Sampling – Observing Animal Behavior

When scientists study animals, they observe their behavior through sampling, a special research technique that helps them notate what the animals are doing. They may be looking for information about the amount of time an animal spends doing something, how much space in the habitat an animal uses, what animals like to hang out together, or finding new behaviors. This technique can be used in the wild to learn about natural animal behaviors or in zoos to learn about the animals’ welfare.

 

 

Some different types of behavior sampling include:

 

  • Ad libitum sampling: writing down anything that seems interesting or important about one animal or a group of animals over a period of time.
  • Focal sampling: watching one animal for a set length of time and writing down everything the animal does with the time noted.
  • Scan sampling: watching one animal or a group of animals and writing down what they are doing at a certain interval of time (every 30 seconds, every 5 minutes, etc.)

 


 

Try observing your pet for a day! Here’s how:

 

You will need:

  1. Something to write on.
  2. Something to write with.
  3. An animal (or a few animals) – if you don’t have a pet, try observing an animal live camera feed on www.explore.org!

 

 

What to do:

  • Decide on what type of sampling you are going to try. Think about how much time you want to spend observing. To learn the most about your pet, you could try scan sampling – observe them once an hour all day and note their behavior.
  • Create a behavior key. You won’t have time to write everything down as it is happening! Create your own shorthand for the most common behaviors your pet or pets might do.
  • Start observing! Be sure to watch the clock to notate the time of behaviors.
  • Finished? Analyze the behavior you recorded! Does your dog spend most of their time looking out the window? Maybe you can set up their bed next to a window so they can enjoy it! Does your cat like to hide under tables? Maybe you can set up a sitting area with a canopy to make them feel safe!

 

 

What Next?

You can help animal researchers around the world by sampling behavior or even simply counting or sorting animals! Scientists ask for help by doing community (or citizen) science projects where anyone can help by following simple instructions and entering data.

 

Check out this search engine to find a citizen science project that’s interesting to you: https://scistarter.org/finder

 

OSC At Home Emails

Get a round up of our latest activities and ideas delivered straight to your inbox so you don't miss a thing!

Find out when we release new resources by following us on social media!

 

Follow us on social media for even more science fun including fun facts, games, behind-the-scenes photos, and more!

 

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Support OSC At Home

In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!