The next solar eclipse is crossing the U.S. on August 21, 2017!

How does life respond to the dramatic event of a total solar eclipse?

There is some evidence that plant and animal life react to the environmental changes that occur during a total solar eclipse. As the sky darkens and the temperature drops, birds reportedly stop singing, spiders may tear down their webs, and gray squirrels retreat to their dens, among other observed behaviors. Much of these reports, however, are anecdotal or documented with captive animals.

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will cross the continental United States, from coast to coast. The Academy invites citizen scientists like you to take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to record eclipse-related animal behavior.

How to participate

Before the eclipse:
1. Download the iNaturalist app and make an account.
2. Practice making observations. Check out the Getting Started Guide for helpful tips.
3. Join the Life Responds project.
4. Decide where you will be viewing the eclipse and know when the eclipse will be at maximum at your location. Use this map to help determine that time.

Day of the eclipse (Aug 21):
1. Once you arrive at your site, scout your area for animals and plants. Choose the individual organism(s) you want to observe.
2. During the eclipse, make 3 separate observations for each individual organism using the iNaturalist app, adding each of them to the "Life Responds" project:

1st observation: 30 minutes before totality (or maximum coverage) make an observation in iNaturalist. Add anything interesting you notice about their behavior in the "Notes" section.
2nd observation: During totality (or maximum coverage) make a second observation in iNaturalist. Add anything interesting you notice about their behavior in the "Notes" section.
3rd observation: 30 minutes after totality (or maximum coverage) make a third and final observation in iNaturalist. Add anything interesting you notice about their behavior in the "Notes" section.

You're welcome to make other observations of your organism(s) beyond these three - just be sure to choose the time frame in which you made these other observations in "Before, During, or After Totality" field.

Will you be within the area of totality and already have your phone (or camera) out snapping pictures? Check out the Eclipse Megamovie 2017 project from Google and UC Berkeley that will compile photographs taken of the eclipse from across the country to see how you can contribute.

Are you involved in behavioral ecology? Interested in how certain life forms react to eclipses? Could widespread records of behavior changes inform your research? We are looking for both scientific and engagement partners.

For questions or more information, please contact: citizenscience@calacademy.org

Banner & icon photo: Luc Viatour (CC-BY-SA)

Tips for and information about making observations for Life Responds

Hi everyone!
The solar eclipse is just around the corner! We hope you're excited as we are to not only see this amazing event, but to also check out how the life around us responds to the eclipse!

We wanted to pass on a couple tips about making observations for the Life Responds project:
1. Before the eclipse starts, make sure you've downloaded the iNaturalist app to your phone, made an account, have joined the Life Responds project, and your location services are on and you have allowed iNaturalist and your camera to access your location. You can use the app with no wi-fi or data connectivity, but only if you've done those things first. The app will remember where you were and the time you made each observation, and you can then upload them later once you have connectivity again.

2. Be sure to scout out potential organisms to observe before the eclipse starts. We want everyone to get to enjoy the eclipse and not feel like you're scrambling to find ...more ↓

Posted on August 15, 2017 04:36 PM by kestrel kestrel | 0 comments | Leave a comment
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