Sadly there don’t seem to be any scientifically valid citizen science projects about ghosts, poltergeists, hobgoblins, or werewolves. There are, however plenty about that Halloween staple – the bat.
Bats get a bum wrap as blood sucking pests. Nothing could further from the truth! Bats are incredibly helpful to us humans because they are natural pollinators and pest controllers, but they are also an indicator species. Indicator species are plants and animals that can be studied to give a snapshot of an ecosystem’s environmental health.
Here are a few ways that you as a citizen scientist can get involved with learning more about these amazing animals.
Bat Detective – Zooniverse’s own bat project. Bat calls are recorded by data collection citizen scientists and then uploaded on to the Bat Detective website. Zooniverse volunteers classify the calls to give scientists a better idea about the distribution of these animals in Europe.
Alaska Bat Monitoring Program – Did you know that Alaska is home to five species of bats? If you live in Alaska you can help the Alaska Department of Fish and Game collect learn more by making and sending in your observations of bats!
iBats (Indicator Bats Program) – This international effort recruits volunteers to record bat calls all around the world. iBats is collaboration between the Zoological Society of London and the Bat Conservation Trust.
Know of other bat-related citizen science projects? Please share them as a comment below!