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Does a cat’s personality predict its hunting?

All pet owners know that every animal has its own personality.  Some are shy, some are bold, some get freaked out by cucumbers.  We also know that cats vary in their hunting interests and ability, meaning that certain individuals might be a much bigger problem for native wildlife than others.  We want to see if we can find a link between cat personality and the amount of wildlife they kill and eat.

First, the personality – working with colleagues at Discover Circle in Australia, we have […]

By | June 28th, 2016|Cat Tracker, Participate|0 Comments

New Project: The Life of Pants

Do clothes contribute to body odor?

Let’s be real: I have body odor, you have body odor, we all have body odor.

Most of us can at least vaguely remember that time during our awkward preteen years that our parents made us aware of our smell and introduced the concept of deodorant. I’ve been applied deodorant daily, been aware of and at times self-conscious of by body odor for almost two decades, yet, it never occurred to me to investigate the cause of this odor and how my activities are affecting it. As a microbiologist, I know that […]

By | June 21st, 2016|armpits, Participate, Projects|2 Comments

What is your cat’s personality?

We’ve officially launched our Cat Personality Test — which you can take even if you haven’t tracked your own cat (you can even take it if you don’t have a cat!).

Have you ever wondered just how your cat thinks? Maybe you’re curious about that friendly feline from around the corner? We may not be able to read the minds of cats but with the help of our partners in Australia and New Zealand we’ve been able to develop a way to tap into determining their personality.

How do determine the personality of a cat you ask? Excellent question! The Cat […]

By | April 11th, 2016|Cat Tracker, Participate|0 Comments

Students Discover: Ant Health Watch

**This is a guest post from postdoctoral researcher, Dr. DeAnna Beasley. Her research is NSF-funded by our Students Discover grant which partners scientists with educators to co-create citizen science projects and middle school lesson plans. The products of these partnerships can be found at StudentsDiscover.org.**

This past summer I worked with middle school teachers in the Kenan Fellows Program and undergraduate students from Shaw University and North Carolina State University at the beautiful North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Our goal was to develop a citizen science project that would engage middle school students in the classroom […]

By | September 21st, 2015|ants, Education|0 Comments

Back to School Heart Rate Checkup

**This is a guest post written by NC State undergraduate, Jakini Kauba. Jakini has been collaborating with Dr. Clint Penick on the Beats project, digging through over a century of scientific literature to find the heart beats of all of the studied vertebrates on the planet and their lifespans and she needs your help!**  

With the stress of starting new classes and buying new binders, pens, pencils, and notebook paper, our heart rates can increase this time of the year. Rumor has it, that this strain on our hearts can lessen our lifespan [1], or at least

By | September 2nd, 2015|Hearts, Participate, Projects|0 Comments

Evolution of the Indoor Biome

There is something living in the north-facing wall of our apartment. My partner and I have narrowed it down to an organism in the phylum Chordata; though we have not seen the thing, we are fairly certain it has a backbone. It likes to make squeaking or cawing noises at 4 a.m. Sometimes the noises make it seem very small, like a house mouse, and sometimes the noises make it seem very large, like a well-nourished raccoon. Or perhaps it is a bird. Perhaps it is a new, awesome bird species.

We know so little about the organisms that live with […]

By | March 16th, 2015|Arthropods, Homes, Indoor Evolution, News, Urban Ecology|0 Comments

Look but don’t touch

Watching Out for Nesting Birds

Look but don’t touch. This was a lesson I learned early on as a young boy, staring intently along with my grandmother at a bird nest. Inside a shrub-like tree, a bowl of straw lay almost hidden. Within it, several nestlings, their mouths wide open, were awaiting their next meal.

After a quick look, we hurried away, soon noticing that the mother robin returned with sustenance for her young. Folklore, of course, advises people to not harm bird nests, for doing so was commonly thought to bring bad luck (1). However, for many […]

By | February 23rd, 2015|Education, Nature in Your Backyard, Science Art|1 Comment

Students Discover Celebrates National Fossil Day!

To celebrate, we here at Student’s Discover, and especially me the resident paleontologist, want to give a quick update on the incredible results that middle school kids have already made on the Shark Teeth Forensics project through the Paleontology and Geology lab at the Nature Research Center, NC Museum of Natural Sciences.

First, I need to give a huge “Wow, I’m impressed” to the three Kenan Fellows teachers working on this project (Kimberly, Kerrie, Juliana) because they’ve transformed their middle school classrooms into real deal research teams. And second, I need to shout […]

By | October 15th, 2014|Education|0 Comments

Students Discover Goes to Washington

Members of the Students Discover team recently visited the Nation’s Capital to present at the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement (NCSCE) Washington Symposium. This conference highlighted university, college, and community programs that are incorporating STEM education into real world applications. We were invited to speak about Students Discover and shared our experiences passionately. As part of this conference, we also met with Representative David Price of North Carolina’s 4th district to talk about our work and discuss the successes of the Students Discover program to date.

Liz Baird, Director of Education at the North […]

By | October 7th, 2014|Education, News|0 Comments

Ant Picnic in Pennsylvania

**This is a guest post written by NC State undergraduate, Ryan Pileski. Ryan collaborated with Lea Shell to adapt the Ant Picnic lesson plan, an investigation of ant diet, nutrition and diversity, for implementation at a summer camp serving students with social disorders. Their goal was to modify the lesson plan to allow success for students with attention issues and social concerns in a summer camp scenario.**

Students attending Summit Camp in Pennsylvania participated in Ant Picnic over a two week period this summer. The campers, ages 10-21, come from all over the United States and have a […]

By | September 29th, 2014|ants, Education|1 Comment

Wings of Change

You may have noticed a small white butterfly flittering through your garden, bouncing across your path while on your bike or spiraling around the side of the road. Chances are it was a small cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae). It’s probably the most widespread and abundant butterfly on the planet! Over the last 2,000 years it has spread across the world from its natural range in Europe, Asia and North Africa to every continent except Antarctica. How did it become so successful? Well, in part because it eats many of the foods growing in our gardens – particularly, those found […]

By | September 16th, 2014|Global Change, Nature in Your Backyard, Participate|0 Comments

Ant Picnic in the Amazon

This summer we had the unforgettable experience of doing science with elementary school children in a remote Amazonian river village.

We arrived by boat, accompanied by our Peruvian guide, Willy, who asked the local teacher if the kids would like to do a little science experiment with us.

Village Amazonian village in Peru. Photo credit: Michelle Trautwein

Fernando, the primary school teacher, agreed — but only after the kids finished carting their bananas to the river where they would be picked up and taken to market. Upon hearing this news, a pack of excited […]

By | August 11th, 2014|ants, Education|0 Comments

Big Time Teachers, Deep Time Science

It’s been a couple weeks since we parted ways with the tightly knit cohort of Students Discover teacher-scientists. After three weeks of intense training at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, these 12 middle school teachers are ready to make history engaging their students in real scientific research. Three teachers teamed with a researcher from each of four labs in the Nature Research Center to develop a research question that students in their classrooms will help to answer.

In its vision, Students Discover does not lack in grandeur—teachers and museum researchers are working together on the breadth […]

By | August 4th, 2014|Education, Explainer|0 Comments

Predation in Action!

Last week, I led a group of students and postdocs from the Entomology Department at NC State on an expedition to collect bees at the nearby JC Raulston Arboretum. We’re working on a project to investigate how urbanization affects the native bee community and their health.

The Arboretum was a bee paradise! We saw over 20 different species of native bees in the course of an hour. Then a tussle happening mid-air caught our attention. At first we thought we had observed a pair of bumblebees mating in mid-air. Only later, when these insects landed on a nearby leaf […]

By | July 29th, 2014|Nature in Your Backyard, Urban Ecology|1 Comment

Insects Headline Art of Science Exhibit

Science is boring. Art is Stupid. Prove us wrong.

These are the words that launched the annual Art of Science exhibition at Princeton University. The exhibit highlights examples of accidental art – images and video collected in the process of doing science that somehow go beyond the numeric values of their pixels. This year I was excited to have four of my photographs included in the exhibit.

Taking photos while doing research gives students and scientists a chance to embrace their curiosity. There’s a lot more freedom behind a lens than we typically experience while designing and carrying out highly precise […]

By | July 22nd, 2014|ants, Science Art|0 Comments