Tuesday, September 13, 2011

More on the Bioweathermap project #NotAboutWeather #ItsAboutMicrobes #AndMoney #CitizenMicrobiology

Just a mini post here about Bioweathermap.  I had posted a mini post about this project in July: Desperate to know what microbes are on your money? This project is for you (with some cool side science benefits).  I got reminded about this by this PLoS Blog: DIY Science at #SciBarSpace 2 | The Official PLoS Blog.  The PLoS blog discusses a talk by Jason Bobe about Bioweathermap.

Bioweathermap is not the most accurately named project but it is pretty cool.  From their site:
The BioWeatherMap initiative is a global, grassroots, distributed environmental sensing effort aimed at answering some very basic questions about the geographic and temporal distribution patterns of microbial life. Utilizing the power of high-throughput, low cost DNA sequencing and harnessing the drive of an enlightened public we propose a new collaborative research approach aimed at generating a steady stream of environmental samples from many geographic locations to produce high quality data for ongoing discovery and surveillance. Our approach will provide a unique opportunity to engage the public in the scientific research process while we address fundamental questions such as “How diverse is the microbial life around us?” and “How do microbial communities in different habitats change over time?” and “How can advanced sequencing technologies best be utilized to address issues in biodiversity, public health, and biosurveillance?”
In other words, it is about microbes (suggestion to them - it might be good to have something about microbes in the title of the project - maybe "microbioweathermap" or something like that).  Anyway, to do the project they have been collecting dollar bills from various people:

From PLoS Blog.
And then characterizing the microbes on those bills.  I note - Jason collected the bill from me when we met at the book launch party for Thomas Goetz's "The Decision Tree".  Anyway - in essence this is a citizen microbiology project and it is worth checking out.  For more on it see:
Seems to me there are more and more Citizen Microbiology projects out there.  For some other posts of mine about CM projects (got to give them an abbreviation) see:

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