EurekAlert: New smartphone game lets you solve real-world ecological puzzles

EurekAlert: New smartphone game lets you solve real-world ecological puzzles. “EcoBuilder lets players build their own ecosystem of plants and animals. They throw together a bunch of species of different shapes and sizes, decide who eats who within the confines of the game, and depending on their decisions species will either survive or go extinct. The in-game processes that decide extinction and survival are modelled using the same equations used by scientists to study real world ecosystems. This means that natural phenomena can be reproduced inside the game, creating ecosystems that behave in realistic ways to provide real-world answers.”

NASA: ‘Disk Detective’ Needs Your Help Finding Disks Where Planets Form

NASA: ‘Disk Detective’ Needs Your Help Finding Disks Where Planets Form. “Planets form from gas and dust particles swirling around baby stars in enormous spinning disks. But because this process takes millions of years, scientists can only learn about these disks by finding and studying a lot of different examples. Through a project called Disk Detective, you can help. Anyone, regardless of background or prior knowledge, can assist scientists in figuring out the mysteries of planet formation. Disk Detective is an example of citizen science, a collaboration between professional scientists and members of the public.”

EcoWatch: 7 Outdoor Citizen Science Projects to Join This Summer

EcoWatch: 7 Outdoor Citizen Science Projects to Join This Summer. “Summer and fall are great seasons to enjoy the outdoors. But if you’re already spending extra time outside because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be out of ideas on how to make fresh-air activities feel special. Here are a few suggestions to keep both adults and children entertained and educated in the months ahead, many of which can be done from the comfort of one’s home or backyard.”

EurekAlert: Community science birding data does not yet capture global bird trends

EurekAlert: Community science birding data does not yet capture global bird trends. “Binoculars in hand, birders around the world contribute every day to a massive database of bird sightings worldwide. But while community science observations of birds can be useful data, it may not be enough to fill the data gaps in developing countries where professional bird surveys are insufficient or absent.”

CNET: NASA created a game that lets you help map the ocean’s coral reefs

CNET: NASA created a game that lets you help map the ocean’s coral reefs. “Specifically, researchers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California have spent years canvassing the ocean floor using special cameras mounted to drones and aircraft. The unique lenses on the cameras give the researchers a clear view of the ocean floor, including coral and other wildlife with 3D imagery from locations in places like Puerto Rico, Guam and American Samoa. Now, NASA has a huge job on its hands — combing through those images and identifying everything that’s in them. NASA’s solution? A new game for Mac and iOS called NeMO-Net, which you can play right now (an Android version is still in the works).”

Slashgear: NASA wants the public to help track light pollution from VLEO satellites

Slashgear: NASA wants the public to help track light pollution from VLEO satellites. “NASA wants the public to help it track very-low Earth orbit (VLEO) satellites and the potential light pollution issues they may cause. The space agency launched a public science project that anyone can participate in, stating that it only requires a tripod, smartphone, and the use of a website that reveals when satellites will be overhead.”

Newswise: Citizen scientists discover a new snail, name it after Greta Thunberg

Newswise: Citizen scientists discover a new snail, name it after Greta Thunberg. “A new to science species of land snail was discovered by a group of citizen scientists working together with scientists from Taxon Expeditions, a company that organises scientific field trips for teams consisting of both scientists and laypeople. Having conducted a vote on how to name the species, the expedition participants and the local staff of the National Park together decided to name the mollusc Craspedotropis gretathunbergae. The species name honours the young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg for her efforts to raise awareness about climate change. The study is published in the open access journal Biodiversity Data Journal.”

Penn State News: Citizen scientists may be an untapped resource for water quality improvement

Penn State News: Citizen scientists may be an untapped resource for water quality improvement. “Raising awareness and offering technological tools to the thousands of citizens groups in the U.S. that monitor water quality might help community leaders tap these volunteers as a way to improve access to plentiful, clean water and possibly avoid water-related crises, according to a team of researchers.”

Find. Map. Save: join the search to save thousands of miles of lost historic paths (Ramblers)

Ramblers: Find. Map. Save: join the search to save thousands of miles of lost historic paths. “An estimated 10,000 miles of historic paths – the equivalent of the distance from London to Sydney – are thought to be missing from the map in England and Wales. These historic paths are a vital part of our heritage, describing how people have travelled over the centuries, yet if they are not claimed by 2026, we risk losing them forever. We want to build a movement of ‘citizen geographers’ to help find all these missing rights of way before it’s too late.”

Powder: New Snow Science Database Needs Your Data

Powder: New Snow Science Database Needs Your Data. “When David Hill, a backcountry skier and professor of civil engineering at Oregon State University, rolls up to a trailhead to find a crowded parking lot, he looks on the bright side. Each of those skiers represents an opportunity to bring home valuable data that environmental scientists need, but have difficulty gathering.”

‘We’re nudibranch people’: How enthusiasts help get science done (CNET)

CNET: ‘We’re nudibranch people’: How enthusiasts help get science done. “Citizen science, in which data gathered by enthusiasts helps the work of professionals, has a long history. For example, the Audubon Society has relied on volunteers to help record bird activity every year since 1900 with its annual Christmas Bird Count. Technology has added new dimensions to the idea. Digital cameras and recorders have made it easy to share photos and audio recordings. GPS has added precision to location data. The internet helps people organize groups and exchange data. And smartphones combine all that into one package that fits in your pocket or pack.”

Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment: Quantifying the contribution of citizen science to broad‐scale ecological databases

Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment: Quantifying the contribution of citizen science to broad‐scale ecological databases. “Ecological research increasingly relies on broad‐scale databases containing information collected by personnel from a variety of sources, including government agencies, universities, and citizen‐science programs. However, the contribution of citizen‐science programs to these databases is not well known. We analyzed one such database to quantify the contribution of citizen science to lake water‐quality data from seven US states.”

Phys.org: New VR game to help researchers understand predator and prey movements

Phys .org: New VR game to help researchers understand predator and prey movements. “Researchers have developed a free virtual reality game which allows players to experience the thrill of the hunt as a hungry predator feasting on swarming flies. The VR game, called FlyCatcher, has been created by scientists from the University of Lincoln, UK, to help enhance understanding of the erratic, evasive movement of fleeing prey.”