[Taxacom] Citizen Science

Frank.Krell at dmns.org Frank.Krell at dmns.org
Sat Oct 25 12:11:47 CDT 2014


I fully agree with Mike. This is a very serious problem for the future of natural history, taxonomy, organismic biology, conservation.
Here in the US, in developing countries, and increasingly in Europe, collecting is illegal in more and more places. As far as arthropods are concerned, this red tape makes NO sense whatsoever, is sustainably counterproductive to conservation efforts, hence, unethical and dangerous. I wonder how we could arrive at this terrible situation, and it is not getting better.
In Colorado, it is even illegal to collect a rock on the roadside without a permit. Encouraging kids to collect animals or plants would often collide with the local law, or with rules that local entities like State Parks or Open Space administrations make up. This is a big problem for recruiting new blood for natural history and taxonomy.

Frank

Dr. Frank-T. Krell
Curator of Entomology
Commissioner, International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature
Chair, ICZN ZooBank Committee
Department of Zoology
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
2001 Colorado Boulevard
Denver, CO 80205-5798 USA
Frank.Krell at dmns.org
Phone: (+1) (303) 370-8244
Fax: (+1) (303) 331-6492
http://www.dmns.org/science/museum-scientists/frank-krell
lab page: http://www.dmns.org/krell-lab



________________________________________
From: Taxacom [taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Michael Wilson [wilsomichael at gmail.com]
Sent: Saturday, October 25, 2014 7:35 AM
To: Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Citizen Science

One aspect of the increasing use of digital images for recording does not
seem to have been mentioned in this interesting discussion (if it has I
apologise). Recording using images has become a substitute for taking any
specimens. We often receive images and requests for identifications based
on images- when many groups would require examination of small characters.
This is fine- we point out that we need specimens to examine since there
could be many species that look almost identical. But many are morally
opposed to taking any specimens - even of small invertebrates on the
grounds they are conservationists- and not 'collectors'.

I do believe that if we cannot encourage the 'next generation' to develop
their skills and interests by taking specimens home to examine under a
microscope then we will have even fewer taxonomists than we have now.

Mike Wilson

Entomology Section
Dept of Natural Sciences
National Museum of Wales, Cardiff, UK

On Sat, Oct 25, 2014 at 2:31 PM, Mike Sadka <sadkamike at gmail.com> wrote:

> Ah Stephen!
>
> You throw out such tempting bait...
>
> But I've promised myself I am not rising again!
>
> Cheerio, Mike
>
> On Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 10:31 PM, Stephen Thorpe <
> stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
> > wrote:
>
> > It an issue of "reading between the lines" and the loading of neutral
> > facts with negative spin. Also, Dr. Ward set the Hymenoptera project up
> > only to shoot it down for not having associated protocols that he didn't
> > set it up with! I just think that this is a nonsense paper. It concludes
> > the blatantly obvious (i.e., that there are some geographical and
> taxonomic
> > biases in "citizen science" data) from an analysis of a very limited
> > dataset, and fails to consider how sites like NatureWatch NZ might evolve
> > in such a way as to lessen these biases. One way would be more engagement
> > from professional scientists, but Darren contributed no observations
> > himself, so it all just seems to me to be a bit of a hatchet job.
> >
> > Stephen
> >
> > --------------------------------------------
> > On Sat, 25/10/14, JF Mate <aphodiinaemate at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> >  Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Citizen Science
> >  To: "Taxacom" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> >  Received: Saturday, 25 October, 2014, 1:54 AM
> >
> >  Continuing Stephen and
> >  thread on Darren Ward and Citizen Science. I
> >  am attaching an excerpt of his abstract:
> >
> >  Darren Ward (excerpt from
> >  abstract of the article):
> >
> >  “Over the course of 1 year 25 members
> >  contributed 360 records from 186
> >  taxa,
> >  including the discovery of several introduced species new to
> >  New
> >  Zealand. There was a strong geographical
> >  bias to the records, with the
> >  majority being
> >  based around the major cities. Aculeates (stinging
> >  wasps) were significantly over-represented in
> >  the NatureWatch records.
> >  Only half (55 %) of
> >  taxa were identified to species level, with a
> >  further 28 % at genus level, and 17 %
> >  identified above genus level
> >  (family,
> >  order). Furthermore, the majority (65 %) of taxa were
> >  recorded only once, and only a few taxa were
> >  recorded [5 times (top
> >  records were
> >  ‘‘Ichneumonidae’’, ‘‘Hymenoptera’’,
> >  Anthidium manicatum,
> >  and Apis mellifera). It
> >  is probable that these same biases also exist
> >  for many other taxonomic groups in projects
> >  operated by citizen
> >  scientists lacking set
> >  protocols. Caution should be exercised on the
> >  subsequent use, compilation, and analysis of
> >  citizen science,
> >  especially without prior
> >  examination of records and potential biases.”
> >
> >
> >  (Stephen´s
> >  opinion crudely cut and pasted here) “I interpret this
> >  to
> >  have been a deliberate attempt to
> >  reinforce to the professional
> >  community the
> >  (false) idea that such "citizen science" projects
> >  aren't
> >  worth bothering with.”
> >
> >
> >  Seriously,
> >  what is the problem with what Mr Ward is saying? If you
> >  check any of the sites mentioned in Taxacom you
> >  will discover that
> >  what he is saying is
> >  true! This is not a criticism of nature lovers,
> >  it is a human condition: we love butterflies
> >  and colourful things and
> >  dislike small
> >  creepy-crawlies. Why would you expect different from the
> >  subset of nature macrophotographers?
> >
> >  Jason
> >
> >
> >
> >  On 24 October
> >  2014 09:17, Alastair   Culham <a.culham at reading.ac.uk>
> >  wrote:
> >  > For the past year we've been
> >  running a citizen science project to survey powdery mildew
> >  species around the UK in a joint project with the Royal
> >  Horticultural Society -
> > http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/crg/powdery-mildew-survey/
> >  >
> >  > This has resulted in
> >  a data set of around 200 samples in the trial year including
> >  59 different PM species
> >
> http://blogs.reading.ac.uk/whiteknightsbiodiversity/campus-species-lists/fungi/powdery-mildew-2014/
> > .
> >   We are hoping for over 1000 samples next season.
> >  >
> >  > Samples are
> >  identified using a combination of morphological and
> >  molecular techniques by a research council funded PhD
> >  student and the results are emailed back to the sample
> >  providers as well as posted on our blogs.  Engaging the UK
> >  public in this scheme has allowed a more widespread sampling
> >  and allows the student doing the work to focus on lab work
> >  rather than chasing around the UK for samples.
> >  >
> >  > The challenge has
> >  been to keep the survey in people's minds so that we get
> >  samples sent on a regular basis throughout the long mildew
> >  season.  This is a non-trivial job and requires a lot of
> >  forward planning.
> >  >
> >  >
> >  Ours is a small CS scheme compared with large scale
> >  monitoring of the UK flora by the BSBI which has a network
> >  of local (usually highly expert) regional recorders and a
> >  further network of taxonomic experts to back them up.  The
> >  common feature of effective CS schemes is that there is an
> >  ongoing investment in management of them and close
> >  monitoring of data quality.
> >  >
> >  > CS can be highly effective and can be a
> >  very cost effective way of gathering data if the scheme is
> >  run well.  All science risks a rubbish in, rubbish out
> >  scenario and CS is just as sensitive to this as any other
> >  science is.
> >  >
> >  >
> >  Alastair
> >  >
> >  ____________________________________________
> >  >
> >  > Dr Alastair Culham
> >  > Centre for Plant Diversity and
> >  Systematics
> >  > Harborne Building, School
> >  of Biological Sciences
> >  > University of
> >  Reading, Whiteknights, Reading, RG6 6AS
> >  >
> >  U.K.
> >  >
> >  > Associate
> >  Professor of Botany
> >  > Curator, Reading
> >  University Herbarium (RNG)
> >  >
> >  ____________________________________________
> >  >
> >  >
> >  ________________________________________
> >  > From: Taxacom [taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu]
> >  on behalf of Stephen Thorpe [stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz]
> >  > Sent: 23 October 2014 21:35
> >  > To: KenWalker; John Grehan
> >  > Cc: Taxacom
> >  > Subject:
> >  Re: [Taxacom] De-extinction & Rhachistia aldabrae
> >  >
> >  > Ken may be a little
> >  bit oversensitive, given that he probably has to constantly
> >  battle the indifference to (and sometimes obstruction of)
> >  citizen science, by entomologist colleagues. In my view,
> >  biodiversity recording sites like Project Noah, iSpot,
> >  iNaturalist, BowerBird, NatureWatch NZ, etc. are not
> >  actually all that useful *as initially conceived* (photos in
> >  the field of live organisms), but can evolve into something
> >  far more useful. I agree that there is not much point in
> >  thousands of records of monarch butterflies, and no little
> >  brown micro moths. For some idea of my vision for these
> >  biodiversity recording sites, I invite you to browse my own
> >  2489 contributions to NatureWatch NZ, here:
> > http://naturewatch.org.nz/observations/stho002
> >  >
> >  > Stephen
> >  >
> >  >
> >  --------------------------------------------
> >  > On Fri, 24/10/14, John Grehan <calabar.john at gmail.com>
> >  wrote:
> >  >
> >  >  Subject:
> >  Re: [Taxacom] De-extinction & Rhachistia aldabrae
> >  >  To: "Walker, Ken" <kwalker at museum.vic.gov.au>
> >  >  Cc: "Taxacom" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> >  >  Received: Friday, 24 October, 2014, 2:51
> >  AM
> >  >
> >  >  Ken,
> >  >
> >  >  Admittedly I only
> >  read postings in a fragmentary way and I
> >  >  know I sometimes
> >  >
> >  miss items, but I am confused by your reference to Jason
> >  >  Mate saying the
> >  >
> >  the efforts of citizen science can be dismissed as "
> >  are
> >  >  taking pictures of
> >  >  "bugs": bigger, smaller, red,
> >  blue or yellow." What I read
> >  >  was
> >  that he said
> >  >  that "The decline
> >  in "natural history" amateurs is global
> >  >  and cannot be
> >  >
> >  compensated by the explosion of macrophotography since
> >  they
> >  >  (mostly) are
> >  >  taking pictures of "bugs":
> >  bigger, smaller, red, blue or
> >  >
> >  yellow." This made
> >  >  no reference
> >  to 'citizen science' and I did not see any
> >  >  implication of
> >  >
> >  such. It was only a criticism of a particular mode of
> >  >  information gathering
> >  >  or sharing. I would be grateful
> >  therefore for how you made
> >  >  that link
> >  the
> >  >  way you did.
> >  >
> >  >  John Grehan
> >  >
> >  >  On Wed, Oct 22,
> >  2014 at 9:04 PM, Walker, Ken <kwalker at museum.vic.gov.au>
> >  >  wrote:
> >  >
> >  >  > Hi Jason,
> >  >
> >  >
> >  >  > I totally disagree with
> >  your assessment of citizen
> >  >  science
> >  being on the
> >  >  > decline and that
> >  the efforts of citizen science can be
> >  >
> >  dismissed as " are
> >  >  > taking
> >  pictures of "bugs": bigger, smaller, red, blue
> >  >  or yellow."
> >  >
> >  >
> >  >  > Here is Australia, we have
> >  a citizen science website
> >  >  called
> >  BowerBird
> >  >  > which is a socially
> >  interactive website somewhat like
> >  >  the
> >  northern
> >  >  > hemisphere equivalents
> >  of Project Noah, iNaturalist and
> >  >
> >  iSpot.  For me, the
> >  >  > quality of
> >  a citizen science website is whether or not
> >  >  the data it
> >  >  >
> >  generates is on-shared with national or international
> >  >  biodiversity
> >  >  >
> >  databases.
> >  >  >
> >  >  > Let me give you one BowerBird
> >  example that came in this
> >  >  month.  A
> >  citizen
> >  >  > science person submitted
> >  an image of a
> >  >  ladybeetle.  He had
> >  tried to
> >  >  > identify it himself but
> >  could not place the
> >  >  species.  In
> >  Australia, we have
> >  >  > a wonderful
> >  CSIRO website displaying all known extant
> >  >  Australian ladybeetle
> >  >  > species.  The BowerBird image did
> >  not match any of
> >  >  the images on the
> >  >  > diagnostic website.  So, we sent
> >  the image to the
> >  >  BMNH ladybeetle
> >  expert
> >  >  > who came back with the
> >  statement "Back from the
> >  >
> >  Dead".  The species
> >  >  >
> >  photographed was presumed to be extinct as it had not
> >  >  been seen or recorded
> >  >  > since 1940.  The story of this
> >  citizen science
> >  >  find was told in one
> >  of our
> >  >  > national newspapers:
> >  >  >
> >
> http://www.theage.com.au/technology/sci-tech/extinct-ladybird-back-from-the-dead-20141014-115u4j.html
> >  >  > (where you can see an image of the
> >  beetle).
> >  >  >
> >  >
> >  > To me, the essence of science is to observe and ask
> >  >  questions.  What
> >  >
> >  > better way is there than to have thousands of
> >  "natural
> >  >  history amateur
> >  >  > eyes" documenting spatial and
> >  temporal data for the
> >  >  Australian
> >  (swap
> >  >  > Australia for any other
> >  country) biota.  BowerBird
> >  >  has
> >  discovered new
> >  >  > species and
> >  helped to track invasive species.  The
> >  >  exotic carder bee
> >  >
> >  > (Afranthidium (Immanthidium) repetitum) was first
> >  >  reported in Brisbane in
> >  >  > 2000.  By 2007, it had been
> >  recorded  south
> >  >  in Sydney but since
> >  the Sydney
> >  >  > records no further
> >  distribution extensions had been
> >  >
> >  recorded.  Then in
> >  >  > February and
> >  March 2014, two amateurs noticed a
> >  >
> >  "strange bee" in their
> >  >  >
> >  garden.  They photographed their strange bee and
> >  >  posted the images on
> >  >  > BowerBird with the question
> >  "Bee ID?".  We bee
> >  >
> >  "experts" immediately
> >  >  >
> >  recognised it as the South African carder bee and the
> >  >  records came from
> >  >
> >  > hundreds of kilometres north of Brisbane and
> >  hundreds
> >  >  south of Sydney - on
> >  >  > the state of Victoria's
> >  border.  Australia has
> >  >  many exotic
> >  "sleeper weeds"
> >  >  > but
> >  they remain in small numbers as they lack their
> >  >  effective pollinator.
> >  >  > The spread of any exotic pollinator
> >  needs to be
> >  >  monitored and watched for
> >  a
> >  >  > possible explosion of a
> >  sleeper weed. It was citizen
> >  >  science
> >  who alerted us
> >  >  > to this alarming
> >  spread.
> >  >  >
> >  >
> >  > BowerBird "favourites" are often created by
> >  an "expert"
> >  >  mentoring
> >  "natural
> >  >  > history amateur
> >  eyes" .  One such case is the
> >  >
> >  humble but extraordinary life
> >  >  >
> >  styled and bizarrely coloured flatworms.
> >  >  Australia has only one flatworm
> >  >  > expert located in north
> >  Queensland.  However, he
> >  >  has
> >  inspired many
> >  >  > BowerBird members
> >  from around Australia to roll back
> >  >
> >  logs in search of
> >  >  > these
> >  flatworms.  The expert identifies each
> >  >  flatworm image posted to
> >  >  > BowerBird but he adds stories about
> >  how the scientific
> >  >  name was derived
> >  and
> >  >  > about the species
> >  behaviour.  There are now almost
> >  >  50
> >  BowerBird members on
> >  >  > the
> >  Flatworm project who have image captured many of
> >  >  Australia's flatworm
> >  >  > species.  The expert has told me
> >  that for many
> >  >  species, the
> >  BowerBird
> >  >  > images were his first
> >  live images for many species - he
> >  >
> >  usually sees them
> >  >  > as pickled
> >  individuals.  The expert has also
> >  >
> >  requested and been able to get
> >  >  >
> >  these amateurs to collect and send him specimens for
> >  >  DNA analysis.  If you
> >  >  > have never seen a flatworm or want
> >  to read something
> >  >  about them, then
> >  I
> >  >  > recommend the flatworm
> >  project:
> >  >  > http://www.bowerbird.org.au/projects/1633/sightings
> >  >  >
> >  >  >
> >  Finally, the Australian GBIF node is ALA (Atlas of
> >  >  Living Australia).
> >  >  > BowerBird went live in May 2013 and
> >  there are automatic
> >  >  weekly data
> >  >  > (images. Identifications,
> >  spatrila/temporal etc)
> >  >  uploads to
> >  ALA.
> >  >  > Currently, there are almost
> >  11,000 BowerBird records on
> >  >  ALA (to
> >  see the
> >  >  > spread of records from
> >  around Australia see:
> >  >  >
> >
> http://biocache.ala.org.au/occurrences/search?q=data_resource_uid:dr893#tab_mapView
> >  >  > ).  This represents about a 60%
> >  identification
> >  >  success rate for
> >  images that
> >  >  > you describe as
> >  "pictures of "bugs": bigger, smaller,
> >  >  red, blue or yellow."
> >  >  >
> >  >  > New
> >  species have been nominated, new distributions have
> >  >  been recorded, new
> >  >  > stories have been told about the
> >  Australian fauna, new
> >  >  friendships
> >  have
> >  >  > been made and these new
> >  "friends" now go out together
> >  >  on their own
> >  >  >
> >  photographic BioBlitzes and on-share their finds to
> >  >  BowerBird to ALA to
> >  >  > GBIF.  I'm happy with this
> >  deal !!
> >  >  >
> >  >
> >  > I am sure these stories here can be repeated for
> >  >  Project Noah, iNaturalist
> >  >  > and iSpot.
> >  >
> >  >
> >  >  > For me, citizen science is
> >  on the up not the
> >  >  decline.
> >  Getting
> >  >  > "professional"
> >  scientists to engage with this "new"
> >  >  data source is the next
> >  >  > "challenge".
> >  >  >
> >  >  > Best
> >  Ken
> >  >  >
> >  >  >
> >  -----Original Message-----
> >  >  > From:
> >  Taxacom [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu]
> >  >  On Behalf Of JF
> >  >
> >  > Mate
> >  >  > Sent: Thursday, 23
> >  October 2014 2:14 AM
> >  >  > To:
> >  Taxacom
> >  >  > Subject: Re: [Taxacom]
> >  De-extinction & Rhachistia
> >  >
> >  aldabrae
> >  >  >
> >  >
> >  > Hi Bob,
> >  >  >
> >  >  > I agree the scale is altogether
> >  different but even in
> >  >  densely
> >  populated
> >  >  > areas in Australia
> >  even basic invertebrate biodiversity
> >  >
> >  knowledge is
> >  >  > lacking. The
> >  decline in "natural history" amateurs is
> >  >  global and cannot be
> >  >  > compensated by the explosion of
> >  macrophotography since
> >  >  they (mostly)
> >  are
> >  >  > taking pictures of
> >  "bugs": bigger, smaller, red, blue
> >  >  or yellow. If you
> >  >
> >  > don´t know what you are photographing then it is
> >  like
> >  >  it doesn´t exist. For
> >  >  > Europe (with some exceptions) the
> >  decline may not be as
> >  >  damaging. The
> >  fauna
> >  >  > is well known and there
> >  are plenty of guides and keys
> >  >  that
> >  digital
> >  >  > enthusiasts could use.
> >  The goal here has at least been
> >  >
> >  partially achieved.
> >  >  > In
> >  Australia, other than butterflies and a couple of
> >  >  other popular groups
> >  >  > you are out of luck.
> >  >  >
> >  >  >
> >  Cristian. Spain is in a similar (albeit not as extreme)
> >  >  situation to
> >  >  >
> >  Australia. High biodiversity, incomplete knowledge but
> >  >  a declining body of
> >  >  > amateurs (and legislation that
> >  doesn´t help either).
> >  >  >
> >  >  > Best
> >  >  >
> >  >  > Jason
> >  >
> >  >
> >  >  >
> >  >
> >  >
> >  >  >
> >  >
> >  >
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> >  >
> >  > Celebrating 27 years
> >  of Taxacom in 2014.
> >  >
> >  _______________________________________________
> >  > Taxacom Mailing List
> >  >
> >  Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> >  > http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> >  > The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be
> >  searched at: http://taxacom.markmail.org
> >  >
> >  > Celebrating 27 years
> >  of Taxacom in 2014.
> >  _______________________________________________
> >  Taxacom Mailing List
> >  Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> >  http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> >  The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be
> >  searched at: http://taxacom.markmail.org
> >
> >  Celebrating 27 years of
> >  Taxacom in 2014.
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > Taxacom Mailing List
> > Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> > http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> > The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be searched at:
> > http://taxacom.markmail.org
> >
> > Celebrating 27 years of Taxacom in 2014.
> >
> _______________________________________________
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be searched at:
> http://taxacom.markmail.org
>
> Celebrating 27 years of Taxacom in 2014.
>
_______________________________________________
Taxacom Mailing List
Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be searched at: http://taxacom.markmail.org

Celebrating 27 years of Taxacom in 2014.


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