It’s not easy being a scavenger.

Cape VultureWe will be thinking a fair amount about scavengers in BIOL 182 as we consider ecology.  This news piece relates some challenges faced by vultures in southern Africa.

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Three Weeks into Wildlife CSI – Fall 2013

CSI Fall 2013 Team Standings_131111Here are the latest team standings (click on table to enlarge) as of Monday (11/11) morning.  Keep up the good work.  Looks like it will be an exciting run for the pizza dinner.  Thanks for your involvement.

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Wildlife CSI Fall 2013 – Current Team Standings

CSI Fall 2013 Team Standings_131105Two weeks of Wildlife CSI have now passed.  The contest remains very close, with the Trinvestigators maintaining their lead from last week.  At this early point, any team could be the leader next week, if they provide a strong showing of carefully identified images.

Collectively, your class has now provided over 31,000 image categorizations.  Thanks for this big contribution to our scavenging ecology research!

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Love Your Dog? Thank an Ancient Composter.

wolf  human dog postingHuman-dog interactions go back a long ways.   Composting may figure into that history.   As a paper published this spring argues, this human-canine association might have originated with wolves scavenging from ancient compost piles.  Check out coverage of this research at

What canids (members of the dog family) have you encountered in the CSI images?

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Wildlife CSI – Fall 2013: Team Standings after Week 1

CSI Fall 2013 Team Standings 131028Week 1 of Wildlife CSI – Fall 2013 is now done.  Here are the complete team standings as of this morning.  Thanks for your involvement.  Looks like some close competition.

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Bad Bears

Andean bears attack cameraGlad that we don’t have to deal with these guys at the field site for our experiment.   See the linked news article to learn about these bad bears.

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What’s Citizen Science?

HMTCA visit 2011As you dive into Wildlife CSI, perhaps you’re wondering what citizen science is all about.

Pay a visit to this National Geographic resource and learn a little about what it represents:


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NYT Piece on Crowdsourcing in Ecological Research

Lab of O ebird mapThanks again to all of you who participated in our project linking crowdsourcing to research on scavenger ecology.   You might be interested in this recent NYT story describing another use of ecological crowdsourcing:

Don’t forget that our wrap-up webinar for Wildlife CSI – Summer 2013 is scheduled for Wednesday, 18 September from 7:00 to 7:45 p.m. (Eastern).  It will provide an opportunity to tell you about some preliminary citizen science findings (including the environmental psychology study) and to get your feedback on your experience with Wildlife CSI.  We can also consider use of Wildlife CSI with your students.  The webinar link will be sent out to Wildlife CSI – Summer 2013 participants  a few days ahead of the webinar.   The webinar (only a single session) will be restricted to the first 25 participants, so if you wish to take part, be sure to log in early.

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Wildlife CSI – Summer 2013 Final Standings

CSI Summer 2013 Team Standings 130819 (final)Well, the dust has settled as Wildlife CSI – Summer 2013 officially closed at midnight last night.   Over the past seven weeks, you folks have made a most significant contribution to this ecological research, categorizing 80,800 images!  Thanks so much for your willingness to participate in this citizen science endeavor.  We hope that it provided some fun and gave you a deeper appreciation for the important ecological roles of scavengers.  Thank also to the members of our CSI coordinating team for their various roles making this program possible.   There is a lot of database and other IT support that goes on behind the scenes.

The final team rankings appear here.  The three top-ranking teams, Team TOSH (Prince Edward Island), The Jack Sparrows (South Carolina), and The Red-Hot Red-Shouldereds (Connecticut), will each receive prizes (gift certificates of $300, 200, and 100, respectively).  Congratulations on your spectacular performances!

We also had some amazing individual performances, including two individuals who each categorized over 12,000 images!  I will shortly be in touch with you individually to provide the certificate documenting your participation.

Although Wildlife CSI – Summer 2013 is now over, you are certainly welcome to continue to contribute image categorizations as an individual outside the context of the contest.  Now that you are experienced with our on-line citizen science tools, we hope that some of you may use them with your students.  Perhaps we can offer another program for teachers next summer.

Again, thanks to all of you who dedicated some of your precious summer time to this effort.

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Final Field Site Visit

N Hulton L Doss site visit 130816Today in the field we had the pleasure of the company of representatives of the two bear-related Wildlife CSI teams.  Depicted here with Billy Watts are Nora Hulton (The Ubiquitous Ursines) and Laurie Doss (Pain in the Ursus), at the middle and right, respectively.   We have really enjoyed these opportunities to meet personally with some of you who have been contributing so generously of your time and talent  to the project.

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