The researchers believe data from the cameras will yield insights for wildlife management and conservation efforts now and in the future, as these animal populations shift in response to human-induced pressures such as urbanization and climate change.

"It's a massive field effort followed by a massive identification effort involving hundreds of thousands of images," said Harris, an assistant professor in the U-M Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology who also conducts camera-trap studies in Africa. "So our citizen scientists will be a huge help to us, whether that person is an elementary school student in Detroit or a retired accountant in Montana."

Listen to the story at Michigan Radio.