Up Close With The Madding Crowd

Some current citizen science projects.

Mapping the 3D structure of neurons helps discover neural connections.


EyeWire is a game to map the brain. Volunteers map the 3D structure of neurons and discover neural connections. This information advances neuroscience research on how the retina functions in visual perception.


Atlas of Living Australia

The Atlas of Living Australia, an extension of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, allows users to submit species records. ALA’s software, called FieldData, is shared with conservation groups so that data collected, for example, by volunteers in Birds Australia’s Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo Recovery project or the ClimateWatch project to track how species are responding to climate change, feeds straight into the Atlas.


Planet Hunters

Not every star in the universe has planets but, as far as we know, planets are necessary for intelligent life. NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has been helping to spot distant worlds where extra-terrestrial life might have emerged. As a planet crosses in front of its star, volunteers watch for subtle changes in light emitted.



FeralScan is an initiative of the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre in Canberra, to map sightings of feral animals.


Lost Ladybug Project

The population of some ladybug species in North America has plummeted in recent times. Project participants upload photographs of ladybugs, helping scientists monitor them.


Solar Storm Watch

Sometimes, huge solar storms erupt from the Sun’s surface. They can disrupt infrastructure on Earth, damage satellites and endanger astronauts. Scientists are trying to understand how these storms work. Volunteers help by analysing video images from NASA’s two STEREO observatories orbiting the Sun.


Snapshot Serengeti

Hundreds of camera traps in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, are shedding light on the community dynamics of Africa’s most elusive wildlife species. Scientists enlist volunteers to classify animals in millions of camera trap images. This data helps determine the distribution and numbers of each species, how competitors co-exist and the interactions between predators and prey.



What makes people happy? This UK-based project aims to find out. Participants download a smartphone app that beeps them about once a day to ask them how they are feeling, plus who they are with, where they are and what they are doing. The aim is to establish how people’s happiness is affected by their local environment.


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