The Microverse

Person sampling microscopic life on a wall for the Microverse project

At a glance

Collect microorganisms for DNA analysis by Museum scientists.

Type of activity: Outdoors

Who can take part? Students (Key Stage 5+), science clubs, community groups

When? Registration is now closed

How long will it take? About 1 hour

Cost: Free

More than 120 schools and community groups have joined in cutting-edge scientific research to uncover the diversity of microscopic life in urban environments.

Why we are doing the project

The Microverse project will discover which species are living on UK buildings and what factors affect their diversity.

While there's a lot of research exploring microbes inside our homes and on our bodies, little research has looked at the microbes living on the outside of our buildings.

Although invisible, microorganisms provide many ecosystem services: recycling nutrients, producing oxygen and digesting pollutants. Investigating which microorganisms are present in our built environments will help us better understand how they support and interact within our ecosystem.

Lead researcher Dr Anne Jungblut explains the laboratory methods Museum scientists are using to analyse the microbial samples collected by our citizen scientists:

How to take part

The sign-up deadline has now passed. We hope to run the research project again in future, so keep checking back or follow our citizen science blog for updates.

Results

Thank you to everyone who took part. At the end of the project you will receive a research report summarising the results and findings of the whole project. We will also present key findings here.

Project team

Resources to help you take part

Participating schools received a free participation pack that included:

  • full instructions
  • all the equipment needed
  • suggested lesson plans and supporting resources

Get the latest updates from our citizen science team