This project looks at the interactions between a person's ancestry, their earwax type (wet or dry), and the bacteria that make use of apocrine gland secretions in your armpits and ear canals. Does the gene ABCC11, which influences apocrine gland production, influence your body odor? Attend a sampling event to have your armpit, ear, ankle, and nose sampled for bacteria and help us learn more.
Calling all outdoor cat owners! Cat Tracker uses GPS devices to record the movements of outdoor cats so we better understand where cats roam when they are hunting. Cats kill billions of birds and mammals each year, so if your cat roams outside consider following it with Cat Tracker to find out where it is going.
We’re studying how your ancestry is related to your food preferences – with a focus on cheese! Cheeses and other fermented foods get a lot of their flavor from the microbes that grow inside them and it’s possible that your ancestry plays a role in which microbial flavors you prefer. There are two ways to help us find out: take a survey that explores your cheese preferences and your ancestry or donate your favorite cheese so we can see which bacteria and fungi help give it its unique flavor!
Since 1879, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences has documented the biodiversity of the southeastern U.S. and beyond. This incredible record of the region’s natural history has powerful applications for research, conservation, and education. However, much of this potential remains hidden away in historic written records. Join us! Become a Citizen Science Curator and unlock these hidden treasures. As you transform written records into a digital format you will make this valuable information available to anyone, anywhere in the world. Visit the CitSciScribe website and get started today!
Dragonfly Detectives is an inquiry-based, afterschool science discovery program for North Carolina students grades 4-8. We bring students to NC State Parks throughout the state one afternoon a week for six weeks to study dragonflies in the field. Students learn how to do real science while learning about aquatic systems, animal migrations, dragonfly identification, careers in science, and other topics. Transportation costs, snacks, and a toolkit of gear for each student to keep are provided.
Dragonfly swarms are a rarely observed natural phenomenon and are difficult for any one person to research. The Dragonfly Swarm Project depends on reports made by people like you who have observed swarms to answer questions about why these swarms form, the conditions under which they form, and to help explain the benefit of these swarms to the environment. With your help, scientists now know more about this fascinating behavior than ever before and are starting to understand how a group of dragonflies benefits us all.
eMammal is a project where citizen scientists work in collaboration with researchers at the Museum and the Smithsonian Institution to document mammals throughout the mid-Atlantic region, and soon, the entire country. Citizen volunteers place “camera traps” (infrared motion-activated cameras) across the landscape in parks and other natural areas to collect photos of mammals. These photos help researchers answer questions about mammal distribution and abundance, and scientists can use this information for conservation.
Museums hold countless treasures, but 99% are hidden from public view. FossilPhiles is a National Science Foundation-funded citizen science project that brings the Museum’s paleontology collections to the public while providing middle school students the chance to help preserve our natural heritage for future generations and learn about STEM careers. 8th-11th grade students are working alongside Museum paleontologists to create 3D models and collect scientific data from our most significant fossil specimens. The resulting interactive resources will allow everyone to take a virtual behind-the-scenes tour of our paleontological collections.
We've teamed up with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to bring FrogWatch USA to the Museum! As a participant in this fun citizen science project, you will help scientists learn more about amphibians throughout the US by listening for frog and toad calls at night. The data gathered is used in conservation efforts, policy decisions, and a variety of research projects, so your contributions can help lead to the protection and greater understanding of the huge diversity of frogs and toads that call North Carolina home. Training is required before participation in this project, so search for FrogWatch on the events calendar to find the next training session and get started!
North Carolina is an amazingly diverse state! We've set out to document all of the plants, animals, and fungi in the state for our Natural North Carolina project, and we need your help to do it. Simply sign up for a free account, snap photos of the natural things you see anywhere in North Carolina, and submit your photos to the project via the website or the iNaturalist smartphone app for iPhone or Android. Your sightings help scientists at the Museum and around the world learn more about the biodiversity, timing, and abundance of organisms throughout North Carolina - and it only takes a few seconds of your time to help.
Box turtles are under threat as expanding urbanization eliminates turtle habitats. With your help, this project documents box turtles in rural and suburban settings so that we can learn more about how turtles and humans can coexist in the same spaces. If you find a box turtle, snap a photo of the top and bottom, measure it, and record your location, then share your findings with us online. Your data will help us understand habitat use by box turtles and how they are adapting to living with humans.
The Neighborhood Nestwatch project gathers data on the survival of birds while teaching people about science in their own backyard. Our Museum has partnered with the Smithsonian to bring Neighborhood Nestwatch to the Carolinas. Throughout April, May, and June, Museum technicians visit homes to capture, measure, tag, and release target species of birds that occur on a given property. Homeowners then continue reporting banded birds and nest data for as long as possible.
Eggs are valuable for monitoring long-term environmental change, but due to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, most Museums today lack significant egg collections. House Sparrows only exist where humans exist and their environmental exposure might be representative of our own. With Sparrow Swap, we are legally reviving the hobby of egg collecting with non-native House Sparrows to monitor environmental change. We are also evaluating the effect of egg removal on house sparrow behavior and the consequences to native species they might impact.
Nearly every galaxy has a black hole in its center but it's a mystery as to how or why. They are commonly found to be hundreds of thousands to billions of times the mass of the Sun (supermassive black holes). Few candidates have been found with masses in the range of hundreds to hundreds of thousands of times the mass of the Sun (intermediate mass black holes). The key to deciphering the origin of central black holes may lie in understanding these intermediate mass objects and the galaxies that harbor them. By using a relationship between the degree of winding of the arms in a spiral galaxy to the mass of the black hole found in the center, we can estimate the central black hole mass. That's where you come in! We need volunteers to trace the arms of spiral galaxies to measure the windings. These measurements will help determine which galaxies harbor an intermediate mass black hole.
The Museum is proud part of an innovative multi-institutional, $7.3 million National Science Foundation project aiming to bring citizen science to middle school students and get them involved in authentic science in their classrooms. The Students Discover project began in 2014. Students Discover brings together a stellar group of collaborators, including Museum researchers, researchers from NCSU's Your Wild Life team, the Kenan Fellows Program, the Science House, and Wake County Schools. Look for new citizen science projects and fun and informative educational modules coming out of this project over the next few years!