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Princess Simpson Rashid
Q&A with Artist in Residence Princess Simpson Rashid
October 15, 2021

Halloween-Inspired Citizen Science Projects

The unknown can be an eerie topic of discussion. Humans are naturally fearful of what we do not know or understand, but our fear and the mysteries of the unknown is what peaks curiosity and the need to investigate and learn. This spooky season, we pulled Halloween-inspired citizen science projects that are noteworthy for their creepiest and crawliest themes. With citizen scientists around the world collecting data and seeking answers, we can solve the mysteries of the unknown, or at least come close to cracking these scientific enigmas. Participation requires curiosity, the internet, and a Halloween costume is optional.

ZomBee Watch

While some citizens may be preparing for a zombie apocalypse, they probably aren’t thinking about the ZomBee apocalypse. Researchers working on this project speculate that the parasitic fly Apocephalus borealis (Zombie Flies) is the prime suspect for infecting large populations of North American honey bees. Spend some time outdoors searching for ill-looking or dead bee specimens, and report easy-to-spot signs of infection. Learn more here.

What you need: SciStarter account

SETILive Extraterrestrial Tracker

We are not alone in the universe, or are we? The goal for this project is to detect extraterrestrial signals and classify earth signals versus extraterrestrial signals. Your data collection helps researchers teach their computer algorithms how to distinguish between the two signals. Learn more here.

What you need: Zooniverse account 

Never Home Alone: The Wildlife of our Homes

Is anyone ever really home alone? Look for creepy crawlers where you least expect them — hiding in your own home. Never Home Alone aims to document the six, eight, multi-legged or legless housemates that live indoors with you. These little friends are swept under the rug, lurking in dark corners or nestling on your pillow. These understudied critters need recording, and you can make big discoveries without opening your front door. Learn more here.

What you need: SciStarter account, iNaturalist app

Ghosts of the Coast

A ghost forest is a coastal regional area of dead trees. These graveyards are a striking visual indicator of rising sea levels and climate change. This project engages citizen scientists to document the formation of ghost forests at a larger scale. Your observations will help researchers better understand the ghost forest formations and raise awareness about the pace of change in coastal landscapes. Learn more here.

What you need: SciStarter account

Invader ID

Even near the coastline, marine beasts can be found: fouling communities inhabit the sides of docks, boats, marinas and more. These communities contain a wide variety of animals, algae, and microbes — beasts of all sizes. Living on artificial surfaces, some of these are invasive organisms that travel by recreational or commercial boats to their new environment. Invasive species can have major impacts on ecosystems by competing with native species for food and space, which can change the whole structure of the fouling community. Help researchers identify invasive organisms to track patterns in fouling communities and understand the impacts of these tiny invaders. Learn more here.

What you need: SciStarter account