Gorongosa National Park is a 1,570-square-mile protected area in Mozambique. Lion researcher Paola Bouley and her team use motion-detecting trail cameras to learn more about Gorongosa’s lions. Lions are not the only animal captured by these cameras. The photos provide valuable information on a variety of different animals, including numbers to help estimate populations, behaviors, and interactions with other animals. The public has identified animals and collected data from the photos on a citizen science website called WildCam Gorongosa (www.wildcamgorongosa.org). The WildCam Lab is a part of WildCam Gorongosa, where you can view trail camera data on a map, filter, and download the data to investigate scientific questions.
The process of science is iterative and adaptable. Scientific inquiry is often initiated by making observations
about the natural world. Observations can inspire questions about phenomena, to gain understanding about
how nature works. For scientists to answer a question, it must be testable, meaning that it could be answered
by designing an experiment and/or collecting data. After identifying a testable question, the scientist may form
a hypothesis, which is an explanation for the observed phenomenon based on observations and/or prior
scientific knowledge, and predict the expected results of the investigation if the hypothesis is supported. The
scientist can test the hypothesis through experimentation or further observation and then analyze and
interpret the collected data.