FunHome: who are the tiny unknown ‘pets’ in your home?


Indoor microorganisms play an important role in our daily lives as we spend a substantial part of our days in different built environments. Although it is common thinking that microorganisms cause harm, less is known about their beneficial effects. For filling the caps and extending sampling area, researches from the University of Tartu (Estonia) have initiated a citizen Science project “FunHome”. Our aim is to identify dust-associated bacteria, fungi, arthropods and pollen in homes across the world and characterize factors that shape their distribution by using highly innovative molecular identification methods.

Figure 1. Some characteristic organisms found in the house dust (A. Dust mite, B. Gliomastix murorum, C. Stachybotrys chartarum and D. pollen).

So far, citizen scientists as well as scientists have sent us samples from more than 64 territories and ~500 buildings (~2000 samples; Figures 2 and 3). In addition, we have gathered samples during a popular science expedition with sailboat, Admiral Bellingshausen, from North Europe to the Antarctic and to the Arctic (blue dots on Figure 2). Only the last expedition was unfortenately cut off due to the travelling restrictions. 





If you are willing to help us getting samples from unsampled areas, let us know!