What Is Citizen Science?
Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen scientists can view videos taken by scientists of animals in the wild or listen to audio files of whale songs and then act as volunteer classifiers. Citizen scientists can also join with others to make specific observations of the natural world, such as summer fireflies in New England or birds on Christmas Day.
The following are Citizen Science Projects that collect data. You may be able to access their data or get ideas for good research topics.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a leader in the study, appreciation, and conservation of birds. Through their programs they aim to advance the understanding of nature and to engage people of all ages in learning about birds and protecting the planet. They host the eBird databse, in collaboration with organizations, regional experts, and users ("eBirders") all over the world.
eBird is the world’s largest biodiversity-related citizen science project, with more than 100 million bird sightings contributed each year by eBirders around the world. eBird data document bird distribution, abundance, habitat use, and trends through checklist data collected within a simple, scientific framework. Birders enter when, where, and how they went birding, and then fill out a checklist of all the birds seen and heard during the outing. Access this database by creating an account with a username and password. eBird includes population data from The Great Backyard Bird Count, maps of citizen-created bird habitat from Habitat Network. bird songs and calls from Macaulay Library, nest camera data from NestWatch, and sightings at bird feeders from Project FeederWatch. These citizen science projects at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology provide a way for people to learn about birds, habitat, science, and conservation while contributing to real scientific studies.
Another resource available on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website:
When looking through the ideas on these pages, make sure they are written for students graduating in 2016 and later.
WSA's probes and sensors come from Vernier, an Oregon company that specializes in equipment and books that help students collect, analyze, and interpret scientific data.
Vernier's channel on Google Workbench shows student-ready experiments that can be done using the company's probeware that explore chemistry, biology, physiology, and physics. Each lesson gives introductory information, tips on preparing for data collection and collecting, analyzing, and submitting the data, and suggestions for extending your learning. Your instructor (Karen) owns three Vermier books with the full write-ups, so you can pursue details by asking to look at her books.
WSA owns these Vermier sensors, meters, and probes:
What is the Zooniverse?
The Zooniverse is the world’s largest and most popular platform for citizen scientist research across many fields in the sciences, humanities, and more. Disciplines related to IB Biology include biology, climate science, medicine, and nature. More than a million people around the world work with professional researchers, resulting in new discoveries, datasets useful to the wider research community, and many publications. Zooniverse is a collaboration between Oxford University, The Adler Planetarium, The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and many other institutions around the world.