Penn State has an astrobiology project for citizen scientists. Researchers at Penn State are studying the biogeography of microorganisms in isolated pockets around the globe. They want to determine the degree to which populations are isolated and whether the isolation suggests an allopatric speciation model for prokaryotes.

For this study, researchers need water samples from domestic water heaters. They are seeking help from citizen scientists in 2-3 households per state. They’ve covered most of the US, but they’re still looking for households in Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Vermont.

The project requires only about 30 minutes. All you need to do is collect a sample of tap water and fill out a brief questionnaire. If you’re interested, go here.

Written by Astro1 on April 10th, 2012 , Astrobiology

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