The purpose of this project is to allow you to actively engage in research related to ecology, evolution, and/or biodiversity.  You will pick an approved, ongoing Citizen Science Project that you find interesting, and work within that project as a citizen scientist.  You will share what you have done and learned with the class near the end of the semester.

Click here to learn about Citizen Science (direct link: https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/citizen-science/)

How you will proceed (specific due dates will be on Moodle):

Choosing a Project:

The first thing you need to do is to choose a two potential Citizen Science Projects to join (you will submit two for consideration, but ultimately you’ll be working on one).  The websiteFor local projects, SciStarter.org is a great place to find an appropriate project (direct link: https://scistarter.org/).); for international projects, you may want to visit Zooniverse (direct link: https://www.zooniverse.org/ ).  Here you can read about Citizen Science, browse projects, and decide which project you will contribute to.  You need to be able to answer ‘Yes’ to the following questions:

  • Is the project related to ecology, evolution, and/or biodiversity?
  • Do I possess the necessary skills to collect data for the project?
  • Can the project be completed in my local area or via my internet connection?
  • Can data for the project be collected this semester?
  • Is the project still active?  Check for specific dates and/or the last update for the project.

Once you’ve picked two potential projects, you will post them to the Forum.  You are not committed at this point; you can also read your classmates’ posts to see if there is another option for you (note: you and another student may be working on the same project, but all of your work will be done independently; this is not a group project).  Within the first month of the course, you and I will agree on: (1) the project and (2) your specific data collection requirements.

 Collecting Data:

The types and amount of data you collect will depend on the project you choose (you’ll either collect a lot of easy to get data, or lesser amounts of harder to get data).  After we have settled on a project, I’ll email you specific guidelines for the data collection process. 

Your Presentation:

At the end of the semester, you will present your project in the form of a PowerPoint Presentation and an Annotated Bibliography.  As you perform other labs this semester, you will be practicing writing as if you were submitting an article for publication; here, you will put that practice to work. The following information is an overall guide for you, but every project will differ.  As the semester progresses, you and I will be in contact to address any questions specific to your activities.  Your PowerPoint will consist of the following sections:

Title and Abstract:

The title of your project, the Citizen Science Project, the current semester, and an abstract that summarizes the following sections.


There are three main points you want to explain in the Introduction section of your presentation:

  1. What is the goal of the Citizen Science Project? What question are they trying to answer?
  2. How does this relate to the content of BIO 112 (ecology, evolution, and/or biodiversity)?

To complete the Introduction section, you will need to do some literature research.  When I contact you about your data collection requirements, I’ll also send you details about the areas you need to address in your background research.  You are required to cite 10 total sources in your presentation (most likely within the Introduction), with in-text citations.  To assist your data collection process, you will navigate to Science Daily (direct link: https://www.sciencedaily.com/).  This site is useful for a couple of reasons.  First, it has easy to search, relevant information for your background research.  Second, most articles are user-friendly summaries of peer-reviewed science literature – you can find this source material below each article under the heading ‘Journal Reference’.  You will cite both the Science Daily article that contributes to your background research AND the peer-reviewed journal reference.  For instance, if you were researching invasive species of the eastern United States, you use this article: Potential range for new invasive tick covers much of Eastern US (direct link: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181213101315.htm).  Your citation would include:

  • The Science Daily article:

Entomological Society of America. “Potential range for new invasive tick covers much of Eastern US: Asian longhorned tick could find plenty of suitable habitat in North America similar to its native region.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 December 2018. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181213101315.htm>.

  • The Journal Reference:

Ilia Rochlin. Modeling the Asian Longhorned Tick (Acari: Ixodidae) Suitable Habitat in North America. Journal of Medical Entomology, 2018 DOI: 10.1093/jme/tjy210

Note:  Science Daily provides the citation format, so please adhere to that style.

So each of your cited sources will be duplicates of sorts: one from Science Daily and it’s corresponding journal reference.  You will also summarize these sources in the Annotated Bibliography (see below)

Materials and Methods Section:

You will have two of these sections for your project presentation; one for the overall project and one for your data collection activities.

  • For the overall project Materials and Methods, you need to explain how they are addressing their research question.  What are they doing? What data are they collecting? When and where do the data come from?  How is the data being used?
  • You will also describe your Materials and Methods.  How did you collect the data that you then contributed to the overall project?


Here you will present your results (not the overall project, which is probably ongoing).  Your Results section will consist of three components*:

  • A summary paragraph (or paragraphs) about your data.  How may data points did you collect?
  • A Summary Table of your data.
  • At least one Figure that describes your data.

*if your particular project data cannot be summarized/displayed in this way, you and I will discuss appropriate alternatives. 

Note: There will be no Discussion/Conclusion section – that is the job of the project mangers.

Annotated Bibliography:

This is where you will summarize the information that you used to build your Introduction section.  Your Annotated Bibliography will consist of five sections; each one devoted to explaining one of your linked citations.  Meaning, if you used the article linked above about the potential range of an invasive tick, you only need to summarize those two sources once, since the information will be the same in both those sources.  Again, use the citation format provided by Science Daily. 

How you will be Assessed:

Project PartDescriptionPercentageDeadline*
Choose a projectChoose two potential projects of interest.  If either are appropriate, we will proceed with that project.  You and your instructor will determine the individual requirements at this time. Failure to complete this means being assigned a project by your instructor.5%First 4 weeks of the semester
Project UpdateMid-semester project update.  Exact requirements will vary.5%8th week of the semester
Project completionPresentation: PowerPoint Presentation including the following:  14th week of the semester
blankTitle and Abstract5%14th week of the semester
blankIntroduction30%14th week of the semester
blankMethods x2, one for the study itself, and one for your specific part of the project.20%14th week of the semester
blankResults: Must include at least one Table and one Graph, unless totally inappropriate.20%14th week of the semester
Annotated Bibliography10 sources, 5 of which will be ‘Science Daily’ types, and 5 that are peer-reviewed literature.  Citations have to be referenced ‘in-text’ in your presentation.15%14th week of the semester

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