Friday, May 31, 2013

An elegantly visual citizen science concept: Monitor environmental and social change using iPhones, photo-stitching, and time lapse

Sam Droege's idea has lots of applications to the type of work that ecologists, foresters, land managers, and environmental citizen groups do and provides an easy (and actually information dense) way of tracking long-term changes using volunteers using the smart phone that many carry in their pocket.

The concept is broad and is meant to be applicable to any location you would like to create uniform documentation of change over long or short periods of time without having to install a permanent camera.

The concept uses little more than a camera phone and a stout piece of bent steel to start.

Monitor Change
No date provided

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Many Faces of Success in Citizen Science

Citizen science seems to be in vogue now – it even goes by different names, like ‘public participation in scientific research’, ‘co-produced knowledge’, ‘collaborative research, and ‘democratized science’. A handful of scholars have tried to classify the different types while many others expound the myriad benefits this new type of science might bring.

However, I always got the feeling that even with concerted efforts to compare across efforts in citizen science, there was still some underlying disconnect between program expectations and what might qualify them as ‘successful’.

So I decided to interview program coordinators and compare what they had to say about recommendations for success to those in the published literature. Lo and behold, my suspicion was correct. Now, my work with Max Pfeffer, recently published in PLoS ONE, describes the many aspects of success and provides a new lens to look at the diversity of citizen science programs.

PLoS Blog
16 May 2013
C Copper


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

What the citizen scientists found in shoreline survey

SO what did 357 people find in almost three years of searching the North East coastline? Lots, apparently.

The volunteers, dubbed “citizen scientists”, are part of a Newcastle University project to build up a baseline picture of the species which live in the inter-tidal shoreline of the region.

... The survey participants were given a long list of coastal marine species and asked to choose five which they would look for on regular trips to the coast.

A total of 134,000 records have been amassed so far of what was – and was not – found, covering more than 200 species.

The aims of the project are to produce an up-to-date record of marine intertidal species records along the coast which will feed into management strategies and provide the baseline for detecting environmental change, and to raise awareness of marine issues.

“The survey is providing good data of species against which we can measure changes in the future, such as how climate change may effect species,” said project officer Dr Heather Sugden, who is based at the university’s Dove Marine Laboratory in Cullercoats.

“Volunteers came forward mainly by word of mouth. People are really interested in, and care about, the coast in the North East and wanted to be involved.”

Finds have included a very rare, for the North East, colony of stalked jellyfish, with 190 discovered at Beadnell in Northumberland.

The Journal
27 Apr 2013
T Henderson

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thank You!

Thank you for spreading the word about the bird mortality events occurring along the US' East coast and for asking your friends and colleagues to share their sightings of dead and sick birds to the Wildlife Health Event Reporter (WHER),  You made a difference. We have seen an increase in reports to WHER as well as the addition of new members.  While these incidences are saddening, through the eyes of your reports to WHER, researchers like Drs. Ellis and Courchesne at SEANET/Tufts are gaining a better understanding of what is happening on the ground.

And hey! Non-US East-coasters, oh no - we are not leaving you out! WHER can accept observations from around the globe and your reports are just as important. Take a minute and consider the number of researchers who are working on wildlife disease issues and compare that to the number of people who during their day to day actives come across sick or dead wildlife. OK if you did the math, you would agree that comparably there are many more citizens.  Rallied together, that is an amazing corps who can be the 'boots on the ground', for researchers and other wildlife professionals who are on the alert for wildlife health events.

Your observations are valuable! Each report expands our baseline knowledge and understanding of disease ecology! 

Thanks from the WDIN Team!
Questions/problems with WHER? Email