The Big Butterfly Count is the largest project of its type. It is on track to exceed last year’s total of more than 62,000 submitted counts. People participate by counting the number and type of butterflies seen in one spot over 15 minutes. Butterfly Conservation is using the data to track conservation work and the health of the environment as a whole.
Classify a galaxy
Galaxy Zoo is one of the best-known online citizen science projects. Volunteers explore galaxies by classifying their shape from images taken from telescopes and spacecraft. In its first year in 2007 more than 150,000 participants made in excess of 50m classifications. Other volunteers have also helped discover a new planetary system. The online platform Zooniversehosts several current space projects.
Listen for bats
Bat Detective volunteers listen to recordings of bats and distinguish them from insects and machine noise. After identifying the sounds visually via a spectogram, they then work out if the bat calls are social or related to searching or feeding.
Solve protein puzzles
Foldit is an online game that harnesses human puzzle-solving abilities and competitiveness to work out the most stable structure for proteins from an “astronomical” number of possibilities. A protein’s structure determines its function. Understanding the structure of proteins linked to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and HIV/Aids may lead to new treatments.
Sleep on the job
All the above too much? DreamLab uses spare processing power on mobile phones while their owners sleep to data crunch potential drug combinations to treat different cancers.
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