September 12, 2017

Interesting trends & observations

Wow! With over 2700 observations, it's taking us awhile to go through everything! But we wanted to update everyone with some interesting things we've seen so far.

Overall, the species observed were pretty diverse - you can see them listed from most commonly observed to least frequently observed here. You can see that many people chose to observe species that they had at their house - pets, birds that came to feeders, chickens, etc., but also things like ants, spiders, and bees that they could find nearby. Some people chose to go to the zoo during the eclipse, so we also ended up with observations of animals like lions, giraffes, and elephants!

In terms of classifying the behavior observed in these species, we've primarily gone through bird, reptile, amphibian, and some insect observations so far:
• Quite a few people observed swallows or swifts starting to flock and fly during the eclipse.
• A good number of participants had chickens that they could observe during the eclipse - many of them noticed their hens gathering together or roosting and getting quiet during the eclipse, while many people also noted that their roosters started crowing during the eclipse.
• Many people who participated had very active bird feeders in their yard and noted, especially for hummingbirds, that the birds stopped feeding for the entirety of totality/maximum coverage.
• A handful of people heard frogs start to call during the eclipse.
• And quite a lot of people reported cicadas and crickets - hearing their calls start or stop during the eclipse (many heard cicadas stop singing and crickets start, which then reversed once totality/maximum coverage was over!).

We want to stress that these are just interesting trends we've noted so far - they're not results since we haven't gone through all the observations yet and haven't done any analysis.

Some interesting/fun observations of wild organisms:
Black bear
Humpback whales
• Two beautiful photos of butterflies with the crescent shadows caused by the eclipse: observation 1, observation 2
Butterfly that landed on someone with their eclipse glasses on
Birds flying during totality

And if you're interested in looking at more observations, you can see all those uploaded to the project here.

Keep checking back here! We'll update with more finds as we continue to go through all the observations.

Posted on September 12, 2017 16:17 by kestrel kestrel | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 30, 2017

Thank you!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Life Responds solar eclipse project! We hope you enjoyed the eclipse AND enjoyed watching an organism or two (or more!) around you to see if had any response to the eclipse.

We're currently going through all your observations, reading what you wrote in your notes, comparing to other observations, seeing where everyone was when they made observations... with an amazing 2693 observations uploaded (so far!), it's going to take us a little bit to go through them all! But definitely check back here in a couple weeks, since we'll be posting up interesting finds, unusual observations, and other results.

Thanks again so much - we're so excited to see what all of us working together, observing, and being curious uncovers about plant & animal responses to solar eclipses!

And if there's something really amazing you saw that you'd like to share with everyone, feel free to write it in the comments to this journal post - we'd love to hear stories about your experiences and what you saw during the eclipse!

-Elise, Rebecca, & Alison

Posted on August 30, 2017 18:54 by kestrel kestrel | 1 comments | Leave a comment

August 15, 2017

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 something to observe as it's going on. Both animals and plants are totally fine as observation subjects (most of the articles that have come out about this project have been about animal behavior, but we wouldn't be surprised if you see some plants that have light- or temperature-sensitive nastic movements respond to the eclipse!).

3. When you make an observation in the iNaturalist app and then choose to add it to the Life Responds project, you'll be prompted to fill in a required field about how close, time-wise, you are to totality (or the maximum extent of the eclipse at your location). Your options will be:

More than 30 min before totality
30 min before totality
Between 30 min before & totality
During or close to totality
Between totality & 30 min after
30 min after totality
Longer than 30 min after totality

The three fields in bold are the ones we really hope you'll make - 30 minutes before totality, during or very close to totality, and 30 minutes after totality. But if you're seeing interesting things at other times (or just got distracted and forgot to make one of those three specific observations!), you can select one of the other options to give us a sense of when you made that observation.

4. And remember, no response is still an important observation! Don't feel like you shouldn't share your observations if you don't get any response from the organism(s) you're watching. We're interested in seeing not only which plants and animals respond to the eclipse, but also how far away you have to be from totality for it to not have any effect. So knowing what doesn't respond and where we don't see responses are both important data to get!

Once the eclipse is over, we'll take a couple weeks to look through the observations, so check back here in early September for an update on interesting trends and intriguing eclipse behavior!

Posted on August 15, 2017 16:36 by kestrel kestrel | 2 comments | Leave a comment

August 10, 2017

Welcome to Life Responds! Where will you be on August 21st?

Hello there!
Thanks so much for joining our 'Life Responds' project! We are so excited to aggregate everyone's observations of changes observed in animal (and plant) behavior during the eclipse on August 21st!

Our team includes co-directors of citizen science at the California Academy of Sciences, Rebecca Johnson (@rebeccafay) and Alison Young (@kestrel) and Elise Ricard (@elliebelle13 ) from our Academy Planteriaum/Public Programs teams. We will all be making observations from different places across the west, Alison will be in Idaho/Wyoming, Elise will be in Oregon and Rebecca will be in San Francisco.

Where will you be?

Please let us know!
The Life Responds Team

Posted on August 10, 2017 19:06 by rebeccafay rebeccafay | 15 comments | Leave a comment