Citizen Science Workshop 2012

Citizen Science Workshop
Jan 23-24, 2012
UC Davis, CA


The goal of this workshop, organized and hosted by microBEnet, was to bring together people involved in citizen science, with a particular focus on microbiology.  The first day was given over to presentations (available on SlideShare), and the second day consisted of discussions on a variety of topics ranging from informed consent to sampling kit design.


The conference opened with a brief introduction by Jonathan Eisen.

Next up was a keynote talk by Darlene Cavalier, a.k.a. the Science Cheerleader, who gave an introduction about citizen science.  She also highlighted a number of important web resources, including and

Noah Fierer gave a talk about some results from the Wildlife of Your Home project, in particular the distribution of bacteria in a few pilot kitchens.

Holly Menninger followed up with a presentation on the outreach associated with the Wildlife of Your Home project, including the importance of assessing outreach and of having a compelling narrative.

Chris House spoke about his thermophiles in water heaters sampling project, in particular the rationale and development of the project. Slides here.

Madhusudan Katti gave a talk about the Fresno Bird Count which he organizes.  Particular highlights included the importance of a rigorous sampling protocol and taking into account socioeconomic drivers of biological diversity in urban areas.

Josh Neufeld spoke about his citizen science project which collected aquarium filters from hobbyists and analyzed them for bacteria and archea that play important roles in the nitrogen cycle in this environment.


Tom Bruns talked about the ongoing Mycoblitz project where volunteers enter the field to collect and categorize mushrooms.

Patrik D’haeseleer introduced Biocurious which is a large do-it-yourself (DIY) bio project located in San Francisco and the possible overlap between DIY bio and citizen science.

Dan Smith discussed the Home Microbiome Project which will focus on how the microbiome of a house changes when new occupants move in.


Jason Bobe finished off the talks for the day with an introduction to the Bioweathermap project, as well as a mention of the Personal Genomes Project. Slides here.


A number of very fruitful and productive discussions occurred on the second day.  The topics, as well as some questions to stimulate discussion are collected here.  The topics included:

  • Privacy/Ethics/Informed Consent
  • Standardized Sampling and Sampling Kit Design
  • Feedback/Visualizations
  • Outreach
  • Funding

Other information:

  • Jonathan Eisen created a “Storification” of tweets from the meeting.
  • Also here are some CitMic notes/scribbles from the meeting by Jonathan Eisen.


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