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Zooniverse: Snapshot Serengeti

Zooniverse: Snapshot Serengeti

University of Minnesota researchers set up hundreds of cameras to cover more than 2,500 square kilometers throughout Africa’s Serengeti ecosystem initially to study lions. Now the researchers are looking to expand their knowledge via the Snapshot Serengeti citizen science project to better understand how competing species coexist in a shared environment.

Researchers Ali Swanson and Margaret Kosmala, working with Craig Packer, professor of ecology, evolution and behavior, have developed a site to enlist volunteers to identify millions of “camera trap” photos taken to study animal behavior in the Serengeti.

Citizen scientists view sequences of two or three photos and identify all the different animals that appear in the photos.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Craig Packer, Professor
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: University of Minnesota Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Data Processing
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages
  • TIME COMMITMENT: Variable
  • HOW TO JOIN:

    First create an account with Zooniverse, a citizen science Web portal promoting the Snapshot Serengeti project.

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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