Friday, April 21, 2017

Citizen Science: Cat Tracker




Citizen Science: Cat Tracker 

CT Science Nut encourages everyone to get involved in citizen science! Citizen Science allows the general public to collaborate with scientists to help push the boundaries of human knowledge.

Project: Cat Tracker 
Goal: To study domestic cat movements, diet, and personality
Cost: Free - $100 based on how you choose to participate
How to participate: Online at http://cats.yourwildlife.org/
Who Can participate: Anyone! You do not need a cat to participate.
Level of Difficulty: Easy- Medium

Participate in Cat Tracker here: http://cats.yourwildlife.org/

Description: 

Overview: Cat Tracker is a citizen science project organized by a team of scientists from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Cat Tracker hopes to learn more about cat behavior through three different citizen science projects; GPS movement tracking, a diet study, and a personality survey. Cat Tracker works in collaboration with Your Wild Life, a team of scientists, educators, students and citizens who study biodiversity.  Take part in this wonderful citizen science project, you do not even need a cat to participate! 

If you are more of a dog person, read my review of the Darwin's Dogs citizen science project. 

Cat Tracker: GPS movement tracking
Cat Tracker wants to know where your house cat goes on a normal day. Does your cat stick to just your yard, or does your cat have a complex, varied system of movement? Cat Tracker is studying if factors such as breed, location, and personality determine your cat's movement through its environment. Cat Tracker will track your cat with a GPS tracker, and compile the data to determine the factors that contribute to cat movement. To participate in the GPS movement tracking project click here.  Depending on your location, the cost of participating in this aspect of the project ranges from free to about $100. 

Cat Tracker: Diet Study 
Cat Tracker is also interested in what your cat is eating beside the cat food you give it at home. Cats are natural predators and researchers are interested in seeing what prey they are eating (such as birds and rodents) that could affect the environment. To participate in the diet study, send Cat Tracker a sample of your cat's hair, and a sample of your pet's food and they will analyze it for carbon and nitrogen isotopes. Then, they will compare the isotope signature of your pet's food, with the isotopes in their hair and see if there are differences that would indicate your cat is consuming prey in the wild. Read more about the diet study here.  Postage should cost you about $4, making this an inexpensive way to participate in citizen science. 

Cat Tracker: Personality Survey 
The third component of Cat Tracker is the personality survey. The survey will help researchers learn more about your cat's personality, their behavior and how they relate to their owners. You can fill this part out even if you do not have a cat.  The Survey will take about 25 minutes to complete and will not cost you anything.  The survey will determine aspects of your cat's personality by analyzing 5 different attributes. Take a look at the personality survey here


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