Expanding the International Society of Tardigrade Hunters
WALII will provide hands-on experience with microscopes! Students and members of the general public are invited to help WALII researchers find and study micro-animals called Tardigrades.
The International Society of Tardigrade Hunters (ISTH) was founded by Co-PI Boothy in 2015. ISTH’s mission is to inspire students to learn about tardigrades and participate in community science. ISTH provides educational resources, information about tardigrades and desiccation tolerance, and free supplies for collecting marine or terrestrial samples and shipping them back to the University of Wyoming for DNA sequencing and phylogenetic analysis.
We will expand the scope of this existing community science program by providing access to microscopes for at-home analysis. Currently, we are working with the San Francisco Parks and Recreation to host a special Tardigrade activity during the Wetlands Explorer camp at Heron’s Head. In the near future, we plan to expand to summer camps across the United States. We are also expanding to offer families Tardigrade Collection Kits with a Foldscope Microscope in the mail for at-home use. People who receive the kits will be encouraged to submit samples to Dr. Boothby and tag photos captured with the Foldscopes to WALII social media pages. Those who participate will receive credit for any publications resulting from these activities.