There’s so much to love about this project. First and foremost, it’s about documenting all the little critters that live in our homes, including mites, protists, and all sorts of microorganisms. We know that microbes play a major role in life on earth, from helping keep us healthy (or in some cases making us sick) to contributing to ecological processes such as the global cycling of nitrogen. Here, for the first time, a team of scientists will look at the organisms in our homes and attempt to determine if there are correlations between how we live and the organisms that we co-habitate with.
The video they use to introduce their project is awesome. Watch it now at the top of this post!
But the other thing that makes this project so amazing is that it has audience participation! That’s right, participants send in samples from their homes to be included in the project. They’ve had a huge response and are asking for funding to increase their sample size to include dwellings in colder or warmer climates. So not only are they doing cool science, they’re giving other people the chance to participate in science AND they will be posting their results for people to interpret. This is collaborative open science at its best.
Want to learn more? Check out their project page or listen to one of the podcasts featuring their project.
Out of Bounds: http://www.prx.org/pieces/70446-rob-dunn
Scientific American 60-Second Science: http://www.yourwildlife.org/2011/11/scientific-american-podcast/