Researchers at Boston's Museum of Science have teamed up with Tufts University and Fitchburg State College to track the fate of fireflies across the U.S. via Firefly Watch. With help from citizen scientists, the researchers hope to learn about the geographic distribution of fireflies and their activity during the summer season.
Fireflies (which are actually a type of beetle) may be affected by human-made light, lawn care (they tend to sleep in the grass during the day) and pesticides. The researchers seek to discover to what degree these and other factors are diminishing firefly populations.
Citizen scientists will learn to identify firefly flash colors, patterns and locations and record this information online for communal use.
- PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Don Salvatore, Project Coordinator
- SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: Boston Museum of Science
- DATES: Ongoing
- PROJECT TYPE: Observation
- COST: Free
- GRADE LEVEL: All Ages
- TIME COMMITMENT: Variable
HOW TO JOIN:
Register at the Museum of Science's Firefly Watch Web site. The researchers in charge of the project want to know if citizen scientists have fireflies in their backyards this summer (or in a nearby field if they don't have a backyard). Even if they don't see fireflies, their data is valuable. Data is entered onto a map on the Web site for all to view.