Be a citizen scientist: track plastic waste, spot a spider monkey or beat coronavirus

Amid lockdown, millions of internet users are tuning in to interactive data-crunching projects

People feeling time hang heavy as they struggle with the restrictions of the lockdown may find an unexpected green uplift in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The restrictions placed on going outside are fuelling a new online surge in citizen science, as internet users tune into data-crunching projects led by academic researchers.

Enforced inactivity for hundreds of millions of people around the world is giving scientists the opportunity to recruit a vast army of online helpers, aiming their collective firepower at some seemingly intractable problems, from the climate crisis to plastic waste, as well as some cute ones – spotting spider monkeys, interpreting baby burblings and snapping blossoms.

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