Zooniverse is one of our favorite online destinations for all ages. It’s the best kind of citizen science: a spectrum of websites that allow thousand of users to participate in hands-on research literally all over the universe – from tracking solar sun storms to exploring the ocean floor. You can contribute to real research in lots of subjects: space, climate, biology, nature, and humanities. They’re adding new projects all the time.
The Plankton Portal takes online researchers under the sea to help identify these fundamental sources of ocean life. Since its launch in September 2013, thousands of volunteers have viewed the portal’s almost space-like images of plankton and made over 335,000 classifications. But that’s less than 5% of the total number of images that need viewing so they’re looking for help, and it looks like there are discoveries to be made. Sharp-eye Zooniverse volunteers have already helped to identify to some amazing things happening in the ocean, including the discovery that liriope jellyfish prey on arrow worms.
If you haven’t been to Zooniverse before, you’ll need to set up an account. First, go to the Zooniverse home page, then scroll down and click on the Plankton Portal box. Follow the prompts create an account with a username and password. Once you’ve entered the portal, take the tutorial that shows you how to view photographs and classify all of the creatures that appear in each one. Sometimes you see very little; some images are full of creatures to identify. If you find an image you really like, there are buttons for sharing it on Facebook and Twitter.
You can keep up-to-date with all news and discoveries from Plankton Portal by following it on Facebook, Twitter, and you can follow the Plankton Portal Blog, too. Most Fridays, they post the week’s most fantastic finds, along with statistical updates on the research progress so far.
Have a great Zooniverse adventure!