Grassroots Meets Big Data as Citizen Scientists Help Tackle Environmental Problems

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Volunteers participating in intertidal monitoring. (Photo: Alison Young)

Regular citizens armed with little more than cell phones can transform scientific research, according to Bay Area writer and environmentalist Mary Ellen Hannibal. Citizen scientists, amateurs who take part in scientific endeavors, are tracking sea star die-offs along the Pacific coast and monitoring bird migrations in the Central Valley. They're also part of a long tradition of amateur researchers, from Thomas Jefferson to Ed Ricketts. Hannibal joins Forum to talk about the role everyday people can play in scientific research and about her new book, "Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction."

Projects Mentioned by Mary Ellen Hannibal

Projects Mentioned by Listeners

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Read an excerpt of "Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction"  (KQED Science)


Mary Ellen Hannibal, author, "Citizen Scientist:Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction"