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Webinar Science and Life

Thinking globally, acting locally: Worldwide examples of citizen science

This webinar is brought to you by the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office

Thinking globally, acting locally: Worldwide examples of citizen science

17 March 2021

12:00 p.m. ET

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Also known as community/civic science, crowd-sourced science, and volunteer monitoring, citizen science is defined as “scientific work undertaken by members of the general public, often in collaboration with or under the direction of professional scientists and scientific institutions.” Through citizen science, people share and contribute to data monitoring and collection programs. While data sharing can be through traditional methods such as counting wildlife or recording temperature, citizen science can also include offering downtime on one’s computer to automatically run algorithms or playing games to help solve research questions. Participants can also vary, from elementary school kids to amateur astronomers with sophisticated home equipment.

In this webinar, speakers from around the world will discuss their work, from astronomy to zoology. Chris Lintott, an astrophysicist at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, runs citizen science projects via the science web portal Zooniverse, in which over one million people help investigate galaxy formation and discover planets. Murdoch University marine scientist Brad Norman uses whale shark identification technology adapted from NASA’s Hubble Telescope to study the whale shark population around the world and help protect the species. Finally, Yousef Bohadi, a graduate student at the University of Iceland, Reykjavik, studies humpback dolphins in Kuwait and works with the public to develop a photo ID catalog.

In this webinar, viewers will:

  • Learn about the benefits and limitations of citizen science
  • Find out what ethical issues arise when engaging the public in research (e.g., intellectual property, data sharing) and how these issues are being addressed
  • Discover how to participate in citizen science programs
  • Have the opportunity to ask questions during the live broadcast.

This webinar will last for approximately 60 minutes.

Speaker bios

Chris Lintott, Ph.D.

Oxford University
Oxford, UK

Dr. Lintott is a professor of astrophysics at the University of Oxford and a research fellow at New College Oxford, working on topics including galaxy evolution, transient detection, and machine learning. As principal investigator for the citizen science web portal Zooniverse, he leads a team that runs the world’s most successful citizen science projects, allowing more than 1 million people to discover planets, transcribe ancient papyri, or explore the Serengeti. A passionate advocate for the public understanding of science, he is best known as copresenter of the BBC’s long-running The Sky at Night program. His book The Crowd and the Cosmos: Adventures in the Zooniverse is now available from Oxford University Press.

Yusuf Bohadi, M.S.

University of Iceland
Reykjavik, Iceland

Mr. Bohadi is a Ph.D. student in marine mammalogy at the University of Iceland in Reykjavík, Iceland. With a background in botanical physiology and microbiology, complemented by a coastal ecological study undertaken during his Master’s program, he approaches his Ph.D. project with interests encompassing both external and internal forces affecting marine mammals in their environment. That project takes a step back, however, as the more pressing matter that needs addressing is the lack of general knowledge surrounding these animals in Kuwait. Aiming to bridge that gap, Mr. Bohadi tries to increase public knowledge of the reality these animals face in the region.

Brad Norman, Ph.D.

Harry Butler Institute, Murdoch University
Perth, Australia

Dr. Norman is the founder of ECOCEAN, which since 2006 has developed into Australia’s leading nongovernment whale shark research organization. His pioneering work on whale shark photo-identification has developed into the longest-running citizen science monitoring program on a wild shark species in operation globally. He is currently leading a program on this endangered species in his role as a Research Fellow with the Harry Butler Institute, located at Murdoch University in Western Australia. Dr. Norman received the Rolex Award for Enterprise in 2006 for his groundbreaking research, and in 2019, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for “significant service to science as a marine biologist.”

Jackie Oberst, Ph.D.

Washington, DC

Dr. Oberst did her undergraduate training at the University of Maryland, College Park, and her Ph.D. in Tumor Biology at Georgetown University, Washington D.C. She combined her interests in science and writing by pursuing an M.A. in Journalism from the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, College Park. Dr. Oberst joined Science/AAAS in 2016 as the Assistant Editor for Custom Publishing. Before then she worked at Nature magazine, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Endocrine Society, and the National Institutes of Mental Health.

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