Editor’s Choice: This is a rather provocative essay whose arguments are completely specious in many instances, and completely wrong in others, but has enough seeds of truth that it is worth pondering and acknowledging, and then considering much-needed rebuttals. –LFF– Excerpt: The very label ‘citizen science’ (as opposed to, say, ‘amateur’ or ‘extramural’) carries the unsubtle…

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Excerpt: Some 95% of the ocean is completely unexplored, unseen by human eyes. That naturally means that there are many marine environments that we don’t know much about, but that we’re still putting at risk from damaging activities such as bottom trawling. Meadows of seagrass – flowering plants that live in shallow, sheltered areas –…

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Excerpt: Sleepy sea otters piling onto pads of pickleweed in Elkhorn Slough are causing quite a stir. A partnership between local researchers and dedicated citizen scientists is researching Elkhorn Slough’s rebounding sea otter populations and the strange behavior that might have brought them there. The results of this years-long study, published in the journal Ecology,…

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Excerpt: FIU deployed more than 100 citizen scientists to investigate whether flooding from the most recent King Tide in October was bringing saltwater or freshwater inland to urban areas. The findings could provide critical clues as to why such unusual flooding is occurring in South Florida, what areas are most at-risk and whether the frequency…

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Excerpt: Along the jagged coast of Maine, prehistoric shell middens mark spots where Maine Indians feasted on clams, shells and other seafood, then tossed aside the remains. “Midden,” to archaeologists, means the waste left behind by long-gone humans. In practice, though, these ancient garbage heaps contain a treasure trove of data that can shed light…

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Editor’s Choice: A warm & fuzzy story about creepy crawlies. Though slightly tangential to citizen science, this story illustrates a key ingredient to successful science outreach: scientists seeing a little bit of themselves in their audience. But don’t take my word for it. Listen to Morgan Jackson and Sophia Spencer interviewed on NPR, via the…

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Editor’s Choice: Getting meta with the data. This study examines learning as well as pre- and post- attitudes of college biology students who participate in, what I’d term “deep” inquiry-based learning. The college students were not only assigned to analyze a species’ potential response to climate change using citizen science phenology data, but also to…

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Excerpt: The latest version [of citizen science game platform Eterna] sees players tasked with designing a CRISPR-controlling molecule. The design of the challenge is to develop an RNA molecule that’s capable of acting as an on/off switch for CRISPR. The resulting molecules will then be tested by molecular biologists.“Great ideas can come from anywhere, so…

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Excerpt: Smith River floaters will be asked next year to help the state document algae blooms in what officials are calling a “test pilot” project for citizen science on one of Montana’s most renowned rivers. As letters go out next year to the winners of highly coveted float permits, they will come with a request…

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Excerpt: A cellphone and a few seconds of time. That’s all residents of northern Michigan need to take part in a new project designed to improve management and conservation of a vital natural resource: fresh water. The idea behind the endeavor is simple but impactful. Fishermen, boaters and other outdoor enthusiasts text data on river…

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