Do you love reading books about science or watching science programs on television? Have you ever thought, if you could go back and change careers, that you would be a scientist? Well, we can't get you a lab coat or a fancy degree, but you can participate in citizen science! Citizen science is when members of the public collect, analyze and contribute to projects run by scientists to help us better understand our world. Here are 5 projects you can participate in on the web.
Chicago Wildlife Watch, developed by Lincoln Park Zoo's Urban Wildlife Institute, places motion-triggered cameras at more than a hundred sites around Chicagoland. Knowing where Chicago's urban wildlife is located helps us to better understand how to conserve it. You can help by looking at the photos and classifying animals.
Far from Chicago but with a similar concept, Wildwatch Kenya studies giraffes in northern Kenya. A hundred motion-activated trail cameras take photos of animals as they pass. You can help scientists understand how giraffes move through different habitats and what other animals they share the area with by looking at the photos and identifying and counting animals.
If you're interested in the brain or have a passion for finding a cure for Alzheimer's disease, check out Stall Catchers. Stall Catchers is an online game where you look at movies from the brains of mice and try to try to identify vessels as flowing or stalled. This helps to speed up Alzheimer's disease research at Cornell University.
Look to the stars with Galaxy Zoo, perfect for anyone who likes stargazing or ever wanted to be an astronaut. Help scientists understand our universe and how galaxies formed by looking at telescope images of distant galaxies and classifying them by shape.
Finally, perfect for those of you who love that old library mascot, the owl, it's the Wildwatch Burrowing Owl project. You'll look at photos from burrowing owl nests in San Diego County, and tell how old the owls are. Your work will help researchers know more about how to aid in the conservation of this endearing species.
Do you have a favorite citizen science website? Share it in the comments.