Citizen science is a legitimate form of research despite how it sounds, i.e. the term is not the title of a Spielberg film. The brief definition of citizen science (for those of us, like myself, who make use of this style of research), boils down to the general public participatingin scientific work in collaboration with established researchers. And, believe me when I tell you that it is nothing short of amazing to watch people (communities) come together to help drive knowledge forward.
Examples of citizen science include projects like the Pet Tick Tracker (https://www.petsandticks.com) that use pet sentinel surveillance (i.e. ticks submitted by pet owners that they’ve found on their pets, e.g. dogs, cats, horses) to help identify tick ranges, and also whether new tick types (species) are beginning to set up shop in places they haven’t before. One example of that would be the lone star tick (Ambylomma americanum), which appears to be attempting to cross the bridge into PEI on a recent tick tracker map (https://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/2018/06/articles/animals/cats/tick-tracker-maps-june-2018/).
Another type of citizen science research is the Canadian K9 Lifetime (Lyme) Study, which was nicely summarized in a recent blog post on Scott Weese’s worms and germs: (https://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/2018/06/articles/animals/dogs/canine-lifetime-lyme-study/).
These types of studies are not for the ‘faint of heart’ researcher, as they tend to be labor intensive and difficult to obtain funding for. On the other hand, these kinds of projects yield information that is practical and useful on multiple fronts- and that is relevant for those of us who consider ourselves members of the general public, i.e. hold down a job, try to be kind, live life, +/- raise our children, and/or care for our pets and basically do the best we can day in and day out…. which also happens to be my definition of a citizen.
Stay tuned to this blog and https://www.wormsandgermsblog.com to learn how you (and your dog) can make a difference by working to improve K9 health.