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Wildlife Tracker

Wildlife Tracker
Image: Courtesy of Wildlife Tracker and Facebook

Researchers use motion-detecting cameras to remotely study animal activities and behaviors. Photos taken by these cameras can help scientists understand how humans and domestic animals may be impacting wildlife. Citizen scientists can help scientists and learn about the wildlife of the Santa Cruz Mountains in particular by using the Wildlife Tracker Facebook app.
 
Wildlife Tracker—developed by the Digital Arts and New Media program, the Santa Cruz Puma Project and the Game Design department at the University of California Santa Cruz—lets citizen scientists explore photos online to get a glimpse into the secret lives of animals and help identify those animals by playing a game. The most accurate players become true citizen scientist collaborators and generate real data for research.
 
Note: Before playing Wildlife Tracker, the app requests access to your public Facebook profile, friend list and e-mail address.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Yiwei Wang, PhD candidate
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: University of California Santa Cruz
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Data Processing
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages
  • TIME COMMITMENT: Variable
  • HOW TO JOIN:

    Visit the Wildlife Tracker Facebook page and click on the “Play Now on Facebook” button.

See more projects in FreeData ProcessingAll Ages.

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

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