Why Citizen Science?

What

Citizen Science is emerging all around us. There are citizen science projects for animals, plants, insects, roadkill, rivers and much more. The projects are clear of what you should do, some ask you to take photographs or record data. But why should you? What are the benefits of citizen science? In short: several. Firstly, citizen science is the use of volunteers or amateurs to perform science related tasks. By participating in citizen science you will contribute real and vital data to research. Many research projects require a massive amount of information and data. The team can’t record all the data or discover the diversity of this planet by themselves. And that is where the citizen scientist comes in. As a citizen scientist, you have the opportunity to survey your corner of the earth and share your observations to make significant contributions to research.

What’s out there

Citizen science projects vary just as scientific research varies. There are projects to suit every person’s interest. Beijing recently introduced a new citizen science project FLOAT. “FLOAT Beijing is an interactive, community driven art project that uses kite making and kite flying to activate dialogue, map and record air quality in Beijing, China. FLOAT uses local knowledge sharing, public kite flying and creativity to address an urgent ecological, environmental and social urban issue,” according to the FLOAT website. This citizen science project utilizes the power of volunteers to study the endless sky. The data collected by individuals may seem small, it’s only one person, but when the community as a whole partakes the combined data makes significant. Citizen science requires the participation of large group all solely contributing data for a larger purpose. There is the Sunflower Project that takes, “15-minute counts of the number and types of bee visits to sunflowers (and other plants). We have been gathering information on pollinator service since 2008, and now have the largest single body of information about bee pollinator service in North America. Thanks to our thousands of observers, we can determine where pollinator service is strong or weak compared to averages,” according to their website. Project Noah encourages participants to photograph species they find in their back yard. By joining a mission you will work with other users to photograph insects, animals or plants. The data, via photographs, are useful to conservationists and biologists monitoring the population of certain species. For a list of more citizen science projects check out scistarter.

Citizen Sort and Science

Here, at Citizen Sort we also depend on citizen scientists but not to photograph or record data. Instead, Citizen Sort has designed three video games for citizen science. You will register for a free account with Citizen Sort and than feel free to play Hunt & Gather, Happy Match! and Forgotten Island. Each game incorporates citizen science elements with traditional video game elements. For example, in Forgotten Island, you will explore a mysterious island, solve puzzles and classify photographs of various species for scientific research. You have other responsibilities, fun and intriguing puzzles and evil robots for example. The classification tasks are a main component of the Citizen Sort Research project. In Happy Match! and Forgotten Island you will be presented with a photograph of a species (there will be moth, plant, sharks and ray versions). The scientists have already decided on the classification questions. By answering these questions, scientists can look through the classifications and determine the species. Your classifications may even lead to the discovery of a new species.

 

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