How reliable is this volunteer-collected information? Ecological surveys are important. When done in a rigorous and systematic manner they can inform us about a species’ population size and trends, habitat preferences and changes in distribution. They can tell us what to manage when, if our management is working and alert us to the need for […]
Citizen scientist vs ‘professional’ scientist
Citizen-science projects are blossoming all around the world. And, with their rise, networks have been forming to help them in their work. These networks aim to promote citizen science, facilitate idea sharing, and better connect researchers with citizens wanting to contribute to science. For example, in the northern hemisphere the European Citizen Science Association (ECSA) […]
Saturday, 9 May 2015 was the date of eBird’s inaugural Global Big Day, where citizen-science birders working with eBird (and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology which founded eBird) attempted to observe and record as many bird species as possible in a single day, while raising $500,000 for global bird conservation. And, guess what, over 4,000 […]
As electronic devices have become more advanced, mobile and readily available, citizen-science projects that utilize smartphones, tablets, and laptops have been popping up like corn in a hot saucepan (consider the Global Big Day). It’s tempting to think that citizen science is a child of the digital age however public input into scientific research has […]
Are volunteers the way of the future for effective decision-making? Citizen science, the involvement of volunteers from the general community in academic research, has become increasingly important in conservation science. Aided by the internet, the popularity and scope of citizen science appears almost limitless. For citizens, the motivation is to contribute to science and better […]
A bird on the list is worth how many in the bush? Protected areas underpin many global conservation efforts, but do they work? Despite significant investment in protected area networks, it is often unclear whether national parks and other protected areas are effective in maintaining their biodiversity values. Long-term monitoring data are critical for determining […]
In April 2012 the koala was listed as vulnerable in Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory under national environmental law (the EPBC Act). The koala is currently widely distributed across eastern Australia, but the listing acknowledges that the species is declining rapidly across much of its range and protection is critical.
One of the most ground-breaking aspect of these studies are that they used data collected through citizen science projects. This enabled us to build predictive models across an area as large as the whole state of New South Wales that would not otherwise have been possible with the limited data typically collected using field-based data collection.
If you go down to the woods today, will the data collected give you a big surprise? The ultimate act of environmental collaboration might involve getting the general public to go out and collect environmental data that feeds into our efforts at sustainable environmental management. Actually, there’s a name for this type of activity – […]