National Cockroach Project

National Cockroach Project

Not sure what to do with the cockroaches skittering across your kitchen counter? The Rockefeller University’s Program for the Human Environment will take one or two of them off your hands in the name of science. Researchers are using DNA barcoding to answer a number of questions about the American cockroach (Periplaneta americana), also known as the palmetto bug or waterbug.

Genetic diversity is a window into evolution and patterns of migration. American cockroaches originated in Africa and hitchhiked around the world on commercial goods. The National Cockroach Project asks:

Do American cockroaches differ genetically between cities?
Do U.S. genetic types match those in other parts of the world?
Are there genetic types that represent undiscovered look-alike species?

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Mark Stoeckle, Senior Research Associate
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: The Rockefeller University
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Fieldwork
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: High/Secondary School

    Contact Mark Stoeckle,, at The Rockefeller University

See more projects in FreeFieldworkHigh/Secondary School.

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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