Community Scientist Movements You Can Contribute to

Add to Scientific Research Projects as a Community 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! Zooniverse is an online collection of scientific projects that everyday science enthusiasts – also known as community 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 the 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 some of the exciting projects you can help with below, or visit the main Zooniverse website to explore more ways YOU can become a community scientist!

Out-of-this-world astronomy!


 

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.

Planet Four

In this project, scientists can study pictures of Mars’ southern polar region to determine seasonal changes. Helpers will mark CO2 vents as fans or splotches to help understand how Mars’ seasonal pattern works.

Field Work


 

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.

The University of Wyoming Raccoon Project

Look at pictures of raccoons trying to access food from a puzzle box! Using these pictures, citizen scientists will use special tools to identify what type of animal is onscreen to improve the project’s algorithm. The algorithm will help researchers study the behavioral patterns and traits of our favorite “trash pandas!”

Hummingbirds at Home

Using the Audubon Hummingbirds at Home app, you can create your very own “patch” to study hummingbirds and their activity. The patch can be your backyard, your porch, a local park, or any area you’d like! By studying hummingbirds and the nectar they collect, you can help scientists study the impact of global climate change!

iNaturalist

Have you ever seen a plant or animal and wondered what it was? There's an app for that! The iNaturalist app not only helps you identify new organisms, but hare your findings with scientific data repositories like the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to help scientists find and use your data. All you have to do is observe, point, and click! You can download the free app for Apple or Android devices.

Making Change


 

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!

Anti-Slavery Manuscripts

Guests will review handwritten correspondence between 19th anti-slavery activists and turn them into text that can be more easily read by teachers, students, historians, and artificial intelligence programs.

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!

 

Facebook Logo Instagram Logo YouTube Logo Twitter Logo

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!