Citizen Science

2019 Citizen Science Updates

 

Citizen science is special because volunteer efforts help to produce new knowledge and discoveries. However, usually, our volunteers only get to see a tiny slice of the research that they are contributing to. So, we think that it is important to show you the results of your efforts. We could not have done any of this work without you!

During the 2019 year, all but one of SERC's labs worked with citizen scientists. We had a total of nearly 550 volunteers who contributed nearly 17,500 hours to SERC's research programs. When we count volunteers who helped online and students who helped in classrooms, there were more than 3,100 people contributing to SERC research and education this year! Thank you to all our citizen scientists who contributed to our projects this past year! You help us to do more and better science than we could on our own. We also really just like having you around.

We are excited to share some of the results of our citizen science projects from the last year. This year our citizen science team (Nicole Esch, Cosette Larash, and Alison Cawood) created infographics for each project. Check out what we were up to, by clicking on a project to learn more about it or download the PDF version HERE:

Topic

Project Name

Environmental Chemistry The Salt Marsh Plant Census
History Archaeology (volunteer run)
Marine and Estuarine Ecology

Fish Conservation
Marine Disease Ecology
Oyster Growth In Rhode River

Marine Invasions

The Chesapeake Bay Parasite Project
Floating Ocean Ecosystem
Invader ID 
Plate Watch

Terrestrial Ecology

Bluebirds (Volunteer run)
Ecosystem Conservation
Entomology (Volunteer run)
Fossil Atmospheres
Orchids in Classrooms
Photobiology and Solar Radiation
Project Owlnet (Volunteer run)

Education and Outreach

Pepper, the humanoid Robot
Lab Volunteers
 

  • Volunteers measuring marsh grasses for the SERC annual census and harvest

    Citizen scientists counting and measuring plants as part of the annual census.

  • SERC Kirkpatrick Marsh

    SERCs Kirkpatrick marsh has had experiments running for over 30 years!

 

Learn more about the project or if you are interested in getting involved contact Alison Cawood (cawooda@si.edu) for more information!

 

  • Public Dig Day

    Citizen scientists helping the archaeology lab during a public dig day.

  • Jim Gibb with volunteers for a public dig day

    Volunteer, Jim Gibb, explaining what we found at a Java Ruins dig site to a group of students.

  • Archaeology lab volunteer

    Lab volunteer, Chloe Moyer, analyzing archaeological data.

  • Jim Breedlove and Bruce Green

    Citizen Scientists cataloging archaeology artifacts.  

  • Olivia Williamson

    Volunteer, Olivia Williamson, analyzing bone fragments.

  • Cleaning artifacts

    Volunteer cleaning archaeology artifacts.

arch graphic

Learn more about the project or if you are interested in getting involved contact Alison Cawood (cawooda@si.edu) for more information.


  • Volunteer, Dave Norman, and staff out in the field for Fish Conservation.

    Volunteer, Dave Norman, and staff out in the field for Fish Conservation.

  • Fish Con volunteer

    Fish Conservation volunteer counting samples in the lab.

fish con graphic

Learn more about the project or if you are interested in getting involved contact Alison Cawood (cawooda@si.edu) for more information.


  • Oyster shells

    Oysters to be analyzed by the Marine Disease Ecology Lab.

  • Tissue samples

    Tissue samples on slides to be looked at under the microscope.

  • diseased oyster tissue

    The black dots are Perkinsus in an oyster tissue sample.

marine disease graphic

Learn more about the project or if you are interested in getting involved contact Alison Cawood (cawooda@si.edu) for more information.


  • Volunteers measure baby oysters

    Volunteers counting and measuring baby oysters.

  • Spat on shell

    Baby oysters (spat) on shell.

  • Oyster cage

    Oysters grow in cages that are hung off docks.

oyster graphic

To learn more about the Oyster Growth in the Rhode River click HERE.

  • Mud Crab volunteers

    Volunteers collecting mud crabs for the Chesapeake Bay Parasite project.

  • volunteers

    We search for parasites in different rivers throughout the Chesapeake Bay.

  • Volunteers help with counting fish and shrimp that are found in the mud crab collectors.

    Volunteers help with counting fish and shrimp that are found in the mud crab collectors.

mud crab graphic

Learn more about the project or if you are interested in getting involved contact Alison Cawood (cawooda@si.edu) for more information.

  • Janell Clark, sampling a flower pot found in the North Pacific Gyre (Great Pacific Garbage Patch) aboard S/V Blue Moon

    Janell Clark, sampling a flower pot found in the North Pacific Gyre (Great Pacific Garbage Patch) aboard S/V Blue Moon. Photo credit: Captain Russ Johnson, S/V Blue Moon

  • fouling tile

    Tile covered in marine invertebrate organisms.

  • tile hung off dock

    Experimental set up of a tile hung off a dock.

  • volunteer looking at samples online

    Volunteer helping identify organisms online.

invader id graphic

Learn more about the Invader ID project or if you are interested in getting involved contact Alison Cawood (cawooda@si.edu) for more information.

  • volunteers learning

    Volunteers learning about different marine invertebrates.

  • volunteer taking environmental data

    A volunteer helps collect environmental data.

plate watch graphic

Interested in learning more about Plate Watch project, click HERE.

  • Bluebird fledglings.

    Bluebird fledglings.

bluebirds graphic

Interested in learning more about the Bluebird Project, click HERE.

  • project site

    Intern, Nicole Esch, at the project site.

  • Volunteers collecting samples

    Volunteers collecting soybean samples.

  • volunteers at soybean experiment

    Volunteers collecting samples for soybean experiment.

eco con graphic

Learn more about Ecosystem Conservation Lab and the various projects they work on.

  • Charlie Staines, Entomologist

    Volunteer, Charlie Staines, analyzing beetles.

  • Charlie and Sue Staines

    Charlie and Sue Staines out in the field.

  • Charlie and Sue Staines in field

    Charlie and Sue Staines collecting beetles.

beetles graphic

Learn more about or how to get involved with the Entomology project at SERC by contacting Alison Cawood (cawooda@si.edu) for more information.

  • Fossil Atmosphere volunteers

    Volunteers assisting with the Fossil Atmosphere project.

  • volunteers taking leaf samples

    Volunteers taking leaf samples inside one of the Gingko tree chambers.

  • ginkgo leaf stomata

    Electron micrograph of Gingko leaf stomata.

fossil graphic

Learn more about the Fossil Atmospheres Project or if you are interested in getting involved, contact Alison Cawood (cawooda@si.edu) for more information.

  • Orchid Symposium

    Students presented their findings to researchers, family, friends, and teachers.

  • Students presenting their orchid data

    Students presenting their classroom's orchid data.

  • Students from orchids in the classroom project

    Students presenting their orchid data from the Orchids in the Classroom project.

  • high school students planting and measuring orchids

    High school students planting and measuring orchids.

orchid graphic

Check out what is going on with the Orchids in the Classroom Project. 

  • Photobiology volunteer

    Volunteer, Mark Sucy, in the workshop for the Photobiology and Solar Radiation Lab.

photobio graphic

Learn more about the Photobiology and Solar Radiation Lab. 

  • volunteers helping with project owlnet

    A group of volunteers pose with a Northern Saw-whet Owl.

  • Saw whet owl

    A Northern Saw-whet Owl posing for a photo.

  • Blacklight  photo of owl wings

    Using a blacklight, researchers are able to age Northern Saw-whet Owls based on pigments in their wing feathers.  

owl graphic

Learn more about Project Owlnet and how you can get involved next fall. 

 

  • Students learning how to code Pepper robot.

    Students, John Hair, Jacob Haley, and Joe Lewis, sharing information on how to code Pepper robots.

  • students presenting their findings

    High school students present their findings at South River High School.

  • Jim Bryson building bands to measure trees

    Jim Bryson has built over 1,000 dendrometer bands for Forest Ecology and helped to install over a hundred to measure growth of local trees.

  • Volunteers helping with nearshore ecology project

    Citizen scientists out in the field for the Nearshore Ecology project.

  • Mary Ann Christenson helping the Plant Ecology Lab

    Mary Ann Christenson helping the Plant Ecology Lab create species distribution maps for their future orchid field guild.

  • jay O'niell

    Jay O'Neill assists the Plant Ecology Lab with orchid research and education.

Lab Volunteers

In addition to our more structured citizen science projects, SERC also has a group of volunteers who aren’t part of specific projects, but work on a wide variety of activities within a lab. These volunteers are generally at SERC on a regular basis (one or more days per week), and they often have specialized skills and knowledge that they bring to the labs. They help with chemical analyses, build and maintain equipment, create content for websites, help in the library, assist in the field, and a wide variety of other activities. Nearly all of the labs at SERC have at least one of these volunteers, many of whom contribute hundreds of hours per year to SERC research. They are integral parts of the labs and the SERC community, and we very much appreciate their time, talents, and dedication!