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Who’s who within the Zoo – Mary Westwood


In our Who’s who within the Zoo weblog sequence we introduce you to a few of the individuals behind the Zooniverse.

On this version, meet Dr Mary Westwood, a latest addition to the Zooniverse group.

– Helen


Title: Mary Westwood

Location: College of Oxford, UK

Inform us about your function throughout the group 

I joined the Zooniverse as a postdoctoral analysis assistant/venture supervisor on the finish of January 2022.

What did you do in your life earlier than the Zooniverse?

I did a BSc and MSc in Biology at Wright State College in Ohio (the place I’m from), then moved to the UK to do a PhD in Evolutionary Biology on the College of Edinburgh. Largely I’m desirous about how timing impacts interactions between people, and in the direction of the tip of my PhD I began to dabble in bioacoustics and machine studying. These final two subjects are what led me to the Zooniverse.

What does your typical working day contain?

It varies quite a bit, however primarily I cut up my time between serving to analysis groups get their initiatives up and operating and doing my very own analysis. I additionally get to write down the weekly newsletters, which is quite a lot of enjoyable.

How would you describe the Zooniverse in a single sentence?

The innate curiosity and goodness of individuals put to excellent use.

Inform us in regards to the first Zooniverse venture you had been concerned with

Once I first checked out the Zooniverse, I needed to see how bioacoustics initiatives had been run on the platform. I can’t bear in mind each venture I seemed into, however I do bear in mind seeing HumBug and pondering what an unbelievable venture it’s.

Of all of the discoveries made doable by the Zooniverse, which for you has been essentially the most notable?

Analysis from the Penguin Watch group and volunteers has led to extra protections to marine protected areas, which is a extremely superior end result from a Zooniverse venture.

What’s been your most memorable Zooniverse expertise?

Finest reminiscence: all the venture launches, they’re quite a lot of enjoyable.

Worst reminiscence: mistakenly pondering I’d modified the background picture of all the Zooniverse web site.

What are your prime three citizen science initiatives? 

I really like all of them equally.

What recommendation would you give to a researcher contemplating making a Zooniverse venture?

Simply go for it. Begin constructing a venture, mess around with establishing workflows. Delete them, begin once more. Don’t be afraid to achieve out to us for assist.

How can somebody who’s by no means contributed to a citizen science venture get began?

Browse which initiatives we’re internet hosting to see what sparks your curiosity. Obtain apps like iNaturalist and Merlin Chicken ID – each superior platforms which get you out into nature (win) and assist science (double win).

The place do you hope citizen science and the Zooniverse might be in 10 years time?

All over the place. Since discovering the Zooniverse, I can’t consider everybody doesn’t already learn about it.

Is there something within the Zooniverse pipeline that you simply’re significantly enthusiastic about?

I’m about to expertise my first Zooniverse Workforce Assembly. Very excited to lastly get along with all the superior individuals I’ve labored with remotely over the previous six months.

When not at work, the place are we most definitely to seek out you?

Someplace outdoor and with a pint, probably additionally with a e-book or pals.

Do you will have any get together tips or hidden abilities?

My get together trick is strong-arming any matter of dialog right into a dialogue about circadian rhythms.


You’ll be able to try Mary’s Zooniverse venture right here: The Cricket Wing

You’ll be able to hear extra from Mary on Twitter.



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