‘Citizen Science’ Project
The children of Moston Lane have been invited by a team of scientists from The University of Manchester to take part in a citizen science project "Blue Woodlice Detectives", it is an opportunity to get involved with some research from home, learn some science and is also a family friendly project! It's a fun and instructive activity, and a good excuse to go outside during lockdown.
Join the Blue Woodlice Detectives in a hunt for infected woodlice. Blue woodlice are not photoshopped! Woodlice (or pillbugs or roly polys) can be infected by a virus (called iridovirus, not contagious to humans) that forms crystals in their shell. The crystalline structure gives the infected woodlice an intense blue or purple colour.
In this project, participants would have to go into their garden, park or forest and try to find woodlice (they really like to hide under dead wood or rocks). If they find a blue one, in addition to letting us know where they were found, participants can collect them and send them to us (only if willing/able to). Infected woodlice are not dangerous to humans (you cannot catch this virus!). Infected blue woodlice usually die within a week of turning blue. More detailed instructions can be found on our website https://bluewoodlice.wixsite.
By becoming a Blue Woodlice Detective, participants will help us with three research aspects: testing of antivirals, study the virus assembly that leads to the blue colour, and also create a map of where the infection is! (We are a team of researchers from different research themes: antivirals (Dr. Samuel T. Jones, University of Manchester), photonic structures (Dr. Ahu Gumrah-Parry, University of Manchester) and entomology. Visit our website for more information! A list of safety rules is available on our website and scistarter page.
Even if unable to send blue woodlice, people can still go on the hunt and record the location where they found blue and grey woodlice on our webpage.
You can also contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .