A Tree’s Life (A New Citizen Science Project)

Would you give a few minutes a year to reveal the future of forests?

What would be the easiest citizen science project ever? Watching paint dry? Falling off a log? Maybe. But what would you, or anyone else, learn from that?

Red maple trees. (Image Credit: Flickr user Nacho 13 “Acer rubrum” CC BY 2.0)

We are starting a citizen science project almost as easy but much more important. Its called A Tree’s Life and all you need to do […]

By | March 13th, 2017|Participate, Projects, Urban Ecology|0 Comments

March, 2017. The month you got to name a new creature.

March 2017: The month you named a yeast.

As humans, we give significance to something by giving it a unique name: whether this is our pets, our boats, our children, or our sourdough starters. It is how we distinguish the specific from the general. It is not just “a child,” it is our child, “Adrianne.” It is not “a boat”, it is the working fishing boat off the cold Maine coast, “Harvester of Sorrows.” As scientists we give names as well. We give highly specific names to species such as “Homo sapiens” and “Canis lupus” to distinguish humans and wolves, respectively. […]

By | March 7th, 2017|Education, Participate, Sourdough|0 Comments

#NewYeastName Activity

Educators: We’d love to have your students help us name our new yeasts. Here’s some information to start the discussion with your students so that they can learn about the science of yeast.

Introduction to Yeast

Yeast are single celled organisms that are microscopic. They are actually fungi (like all mushrooms). They are a group of microorganisms that include about 1000 unique species.

Interactive visual of how small a yeast cell is in comparison to dust mites, red blood cells, and viruses

Baker’s yeast (one species of yeast) under a microscope

 

How do yeast grow?

Yeast make more […]

By | March 7th, 2017|Education, Participate, Sourdough|0 Comments

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

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

Help locate the coughing frog!

You may have heard of a newly described species of leopard frog, the Atlantic Coast leopard frog (Rana kauffeldi) — also known as the coughing frog (main image, above). The chief zoologist at the New York Natural Heritage Program, Dr. Matthew Schlesinger, has organized efforts to learn more about the range of this newly described frog species with the support of a Regional Conservation Needs grant.

Where is this coughing frog and when can I find it?

The map of where participants can hear and record the coughing calls of the Atlantic Coast leopard frog can be seen below […]

By | March 12th, 2015|Nature in Your Backyard, Participate|0 Comments

Why We #CitSci

Your Wild Life is relocating to the West Coast this week to participate in the inaugural meeting of the Citizen Science Association in San Jose, California. We’re looking forward to two FUN-FILLED days of building connections and exchanging ideas with 600 other scientists, volunteers, data managers, educators, and science communicators who – like us – are dedicated to engaging the public in scientific research.

Together with our colleagues and collaborators at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, we’ll be sharing insights and lessons learned from many Your Wild Life projects including Belly Button Biodiversity, Wild Life […]

The Pump of Youth

What is the secret to a long life? The heartbeat of some animals may hold a clue.

Studies have concluded that mammals get about a billion heartbeats per lifetime. They can use them at a rate of a thousand per minute, like the shrew, or space them out into slow, ponderous beats, over many years, as is the case for the grey whale. But there are notable exceptions. Some species get more than their fair billion beats. The extent to which these species live beyond a billion beats must depend, in part, upon unique features of their biology. Whatever these features […]

By | February 2nd, 2015|Books, Hearts, Participate, Projects|0 Comments

A Whole New Way of Doing Citizen Science, Maybe

Some parts of science are boring. Some are tedious. Some seem as though they will never end. It is these parts of science we tend to try to enlist the public in helping with.

You can, of course, listen for birds as part of the Breeding Bird Survey, count butterflies as part of the 4th of July butterfly counts, or set out cookie crumbs to collect urban ants for our School of Ants project. These endeavors are delightful ways to engage nature. They are also relatively easy ways to participate in science. But in collecting and contributing these […]

By | December 19th, 2014|Homes, Participate, Wild Life of Our Home|1 Comment

Happy National Cat Day!

Apparently, cat fanciers love celebrating their feline friends with official holidays. A few months ago we were celebrating World Cat Day (August 8, 2014). And now today, just in case you missed the memo, is National Cat Day!

We thought we’d seize this opportunity to update you on our Cat Tracker project.

To date, we’ve had 350 cat-owners sign up their kitties for our GPS tracking study, including owners in nearly every US state!

We’re intensely recruiting cat-owners on Long Island so that we can better understand cat movement and behavior before and after coyotes colonize. Last week, we […]

By | October 29th, 2014|Cat Tracker, Participate|0 Comments

Belly Button Portraits – An Opportunity to Create Art through Science!

We’d like to think that over the course of the last few years, our Belly Button Biodiversity project has inspired quite a few things.

By | October 20th, 2014|Belly Button Biodiversity, Participate, Science Art|0 Comments

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

The Secret Life of Roukus

A Yankee cat or southern kitty? Roukus calls Maine home for 3 months of the year and Florida for 9! Right now in Maine she enjoys trips through the woods and visiting neighbors but doesn’t take too well to the cool sands of Maine’s shores. Will she prefer the warmer beaches of the Sunshine State?

Roukus is just one of 73 Do-It-Yourself (DIY) participants enrolled in Cat Tracker. With your help, we’re trying to uncover the secret lives of indoor-outdoor cats using GPS technology. We welcome DIY participants from anywhere — follow these directions to […]

By | August 12th, 2014|Cat Tracker, Participate|4 Comments