Grad Publication: Elli Theobald and Lauren DeBey
Earth is in the middle of one of the largest biodiversity crises in history. Scientists not only have an obligation to document and understand the consequences of this loss, but also address these global changes with new and sustainable solutions. However, this research requires large quantities of data on how the genetic, taxonomic and functional composition of communities is changing over space and time. For example, accurately observing and understanding climate change-induced latitudinal shifts in species distributions may require collecting data across thousands of kilometers. Citizen science has been proposed as a mechanism to gather large volumes of spatio-temporally extensive biodiversity data while simultaneously integrating public outreach into research. Consequently, there has been a proliferation of citizen science programs and similar partnerships between scientists and non-scientists; however, the efficacy of these programs in quantifying biodiversity has not been evaluated.
In our paper “Global Change and Local Solutions: Tapping the unrealized potential of citizen science for biodiversity research” we focus on this critical question facing biodiversity research in the 21st century: can the ballooning global human population be harnessed to effectively contribute to biodiversity research, and specifically to conservation and global change impacts?
|Volunteers counting birds with Christmas Bird Count.|
|Volunteers doing a “BioBlitz” on Cal’s Living Roof Project.|
|The seven citizen science clearinghouses we searched to create the single database we used in our analysis.|
Check out our whole paper here.