A lecture at UMBS in 1909.

Students have been doing research at the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) since its inception in 1909. Most of this history passed before the dawn of the digital age, and remains locked in handwritten charts, figures, pages, and articles. What unknown treasures could be buried in this vault of scientific knowledge?

Thanks to a collaboration between UMBS, the Shapiro Design Lab, Deep Blue, and the citizen science web portal Zooniverse, the secrets of science past are being brought to light.

This bald eagle territory map (1967) is an example of the type of data being classified as part of the Unearthing Michigan Ecological Data project.

The project, Unearthing Michigan Ecological Data, launched last Tuesday on the Zooniverse platform. After registering for a free Zooniverse account, volunteers from all over the world can assist professional researchers by helping decipher and identify untapped data within the student papers. As described on the homepage:

“Data in the student papers of UMBS collectively cover more than 100 years of research on ecology, environmental change, and plant and animal species. These data provide valuable information to researchers and students continuing to study these areas. Your task is to unearth the data so that it can be reused in current and future projects.”

To create a Zooniverse account and contribute to the Unearthing Michigan Ecological Data project, visit this link.