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Top 18 Projects of 2018 on SciStarter

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d41586-018-07106-5_162194482018 was a great year for Citizen Science! More than 3,000 projects and events are now registered on SciStarter. There’s something for everyone, everywhere.

In this edition of the newsletter, we are honoring the Top 18 Projects of 2018 — projects that our collective community shared, participated in, and loved.

Cheers!

The SciStarter Team

 

 


Look up and make cloud observations. Satellites can only see clouds from above, so your ground-truthed observations will be compared to satellite images to get a view from both above and below. Help NASA scientists predict droughts and floods in the process.

Get Started!

Location: Global


Help scientists learn about the diet preferences of ants around the world; their choices will inform scientists on what food resources are available to ants throughout the year.

Get Started! 

Location: Global


Where else can you enjoy nature, observe streams in your town, and snap a selfie for science? Stream Selfie helps map streams across the United States to establish good locations for water testing.

Get Started!

Location: United States


squirell

Do all squirrels look the same to you? Did you know there were up to three different species climbing around your parks, campus and back yard? Count how may squirrels you see to keep track of squirrel populations to better understand tree squirrel ecology. National Squirrel Day is January 21. We know you’re been struggling to decide what to do to celebrate. Here’s your answer. :)

Get Started!

Location: Global

If it’s falling from a cloud, you should measure it with this project. The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network encourages you to use low cost measurement tools to measure precipitation. These data are then used by the National Weather Service and meteorologists.

Get Started!

Location: Global

Looking up at the night sky and taking in the beauty of the stars is a wonderful way to spend an evening… unless there aren’t any visible stars due to light pollution. Record the amount of visible stars above your head to record light pollution near you.

Get Started!

Location: Global


View short video clips of ultrasounds that show blood moving through vessels of mice. Click when you see stalled blood flow. This project is already helping scientists at Cornell accelerate research on Alzheimer’s.

Get Started!

Location: Global


Did you know that cities are sometimes referred to as urban heat islands? They can be hotter that surrounding suburban or rural areas. How does climate and weather affect your surroundings? Recording your local environmental flooding and heat observations helps NASA track climate change.

Get Started!

Location: Global


Think you know your dog breeds? Take an online quiz to test your ability to identify distinct breeds present in mixed-breed dogs based on their (very cute) pictures.

Get Started!

Location: Global


Share your photos of nature through the iNaturalist app and record the biodiversity around you. In addition to teams of naturalists who will help ID what you posted, click “View suggestions” to have AI weigh in with identifications.

Get Started!

Location: Global


Observe squirrels in your neighborhood to understand where and why squirrels turn from black to gray. Two centuries ago, most squirrels were apparently black — measure natural selection on your neighborhood squirrels through this project.Remember, January 21 is National Squirrel Day.

Get Started!

Location: Global


Send your plant observations to the National Phenology Database. This allows scientists to keep track of the life cycles of plants and animals year after year.

Get Started!

Location: Global


rsz_genesinspace_asteroidhell2

Explore space and analyze real cancer data in this game! It is designed to find clues that lead to genetic mistakes that may lead to cancer.

Get Started!

Location: Online Only


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Use your natural superpower of being able to notice patterns to align sequences of DNA by shifting and moving puzzle pieces in this game. This activity helps researchers do something computers can’t: sort through Multiple Sequence Alignments.

Get Started!

Location: Online Only


Have you always wanted to be the first to explore another planet? Help NASA identify and mark craters and other terrain on Mars.

Get Started!

Location: Online Only


Screen_Shot_2018-04-03_at_11.14.53_AM

Play online games to identify languages and language features. This project raises awareness about and invites participants to contribute to language science.

Get Started!

Location: Online Only


scistarter_image3_300x175

Keep track of the bugs in your back yard by monitoring insect biodiversity for scientists at Colby College. This survey targets what are considered “true bugs,” or insects in the suborder Heteroptera in the order Hemiptera.

Get Started!

Location: Global


AmericanRobin_ChristineHaines_WA2015

The Great Backyard Bird Count is an annual four-day event in December during which bird watchers count birds for 15 minutes to create a real-time snapshot of where birds are located around the world.

Get Started!

Location: Global


Your SciStarter dashboard helps you track your contributions to projects. Complete your profile to access this and other free tools. It’s also how we match you with the best projects near you.

Contact the SciStarter Team

Email: info@scistarter.com

Website: https://scistarter.com

Explore other citizen science projects with our Project Finder!

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Ecology

Globe Climate: Canada’s resource reckoning is coming

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Good afternoon, and welcome to Globe Climate, a newsletter about climate change, environment and resources in Canada.

This afternoon, the Alberta government announced that it is restoring a coal mining policy it revoked last spring. At the time, the move provoked a widespread public backlash detailed by The Globe. The original decision, which opened up more than 1.4 million hectares to exploration, was made without public consultation. Premier Jason Kenney previously defended the changes.

Lots more on coal and Canada’s resources industry in this week’s newsletter edition.

Now, let’s catch you up on other news.

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Ecology

‘Incredibly destructive’: Canada’s Prairies to see devastating impact of climate change

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As the climate continues to warm at an alarming rate, experts warn if dramatic steps to mitigate global warming are not taken, the effects in Canada’s Prairie region will be devastating to the country’s agriculture sector.

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, the country is warming, on average, about double the global rate.

Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. recently found 2020 was earth’s second-hottest year on record, with the average land and ocean surface temperature across the globe at 0.98 of a degree C above the 20th-century average.

However, the agency found the northern hemisphere saw its hottest year on record, at 1.28 degrees C above the average.

“(In Canada) we are looking at about 6.4C degrees of warming this century, which isn’t much less than one degree per decade, which is just a terrifying rate of warming,” Darrin Qualman, the director of climate crisis policy and action at the National Farmer’s Union said.

Qualman said there is “massive change coming” to Canada’s Prairies, which will be “incredibly destructive.”

“It’s not going too far to say that if we made that happen, parts of the Prairies wouldn’t be farmable anymore,” he said.

According to the federal government, in 2018 Canada’s agriculture and agri-food system generated $143 billion, accounting for 7.4 per cent of the country’s GDP.

The sector employed 2.3 million people in 2018. The majority of the 64.2 million hectares of farmland in Canada is concentrated in the Prairies and in southern Ontario.

The effects of climate change are already being felt on the ground in the Prairies, Qualman said, adding that the NFU has already heard from farmers complaining of “challenging weather.”

“People are sharing pictures of flattened crops and buildings, et cetera, that have been damaged,” he said. “And we’re still at the beginning of this.”

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Ecology

Insect-based dog food aims to cut your pet’s carbon pawprint

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Meat has an enormous carbon footprint, with livestock liable for about 15 per cent of worldwide emissions, as we have beforehand mentioned on this e-newsletter. That is prompted specialists to suggest consuming much less meat for sustainability (and well being) causes.

However what about your pet? One research discovered that the methane and nitrous oxide emissions generated by canine and cat meals within the U.S. alone had been equal to about 64 million tonnes of CO2, or roughly the quantity produced by 13.6 million automobiles. And it might be getting worse, with a development towards feeding pets “human-grade” meat.

That is prompted some pet meals makers to look to lower-carbon protein sources — together with bugs.

Research present that producing insect-based meals requires far much less feed, land and water and generates far fewer greenhouse fuel emissions per kilogram than meats comparable to beef, pork or rooster.

That is one of many causes increasingly more pet meals containing insect protein are hitting the market. Purina, a model owned by multinational Nestlé, launched a line of canine and cat meals containing black soldier fly larvae in Switzerland in November.

In Canada, Montreal-based Wilder Harrier began promoting canine treats made with cricket protein in 2015 and pet food made with black soldier fly larvae in 2019. It plans to broaden to launch a line of insect-based cat treats later this yr and cat meals in 2022 due to “a ton of demand,” mentioned firm co-founder Philippe Poirier.

Wilder Harrier initially labored with animal nutritionists on insect-based merchandise to unravel a unique downside — specifically, the founders’ canines had allergy symptoms to frequent meats utilized in canine meals. Poirier mentioned now about half its prospects hunt down the product due to their pets’ allergy symptoms and about half for environmental causes.

Dr. Cailin Heinze, a U.S.-based veterinary nutritionist licensed by the American School of Veterinary Vitamin, has written concerning the environmental influence of pet meals. She mentioned we’re typically “not as involved as we probably ought to [be]” concerning the environmental footprint of pets.

Alternatively, she famous that the longer-term influence of newer diets, comparable to vegan meals and people containing bugs, hasn’t been nicely examined in comparison with conventional pet meals.

Maria Cattai de Godoy, an assistant professor of animal sciences on the College of Illinois who research novel proteins for pet meals (together with bugs, yeast and plant-based substances), mentioned such substances are rigorously examined to find out their security and diet earlier than being added to pet meals. 

“This can be a very extremely regulated trade,” she mentioned, however admitted it is also evolving.

Relating to bugs, she mentioned constructive information “reveals promise in direction of utilizing them increasingly more in pet meals.” Insect-based proteins have additionally earned the endorsement of the British Veterinary Affiliation, which says some insect-based meals could also be higher for pets than prime steak.

However Godoy famous that there isn’t any one-size-fits-all resolution, and pet homeowners ought to take into consideration the wants of their very own particular person pet and analysis whether or not a specific weight loss plan can be appropriate.

She mentioned that other than the kind of protein, issues like packaging and manufacturing strategies may also make a distinction. For instance, utilizing meat byproducts that may in any other case turn into waste would not drive elevated meat manufacturing the identical approach as utilizing human-grade meat.

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