[Taxacom] Citizen Science

Walker, Ken kwalker at museum.vic.gov.au
Sat Oct 25 23:16:53 CDT 2014


There is a saying that I believe rings true: "Humans only appreciate matters they understand."  So how do we "understand" biodiversity?  The full extent of biodiversity is beyond most scientists' understanding let alone non-scientists.

Australia has recently become the first continent to remove an existing tax on carbon. Our Prime Minister was quoted saying: "Coal is good for humanity."  Our Environment Minister said that he checked WikiPedia to find out about Climate Change even though he has a battalion of scientists at his finger tips. Renewal Energy programs are being drastically cut. How does the public react to and understand these changes?

I for one, am very happy to see and to facilitate people's engagement with nature through macrophotography and asking questions - even though they could possibly answer their own questions with some research into previously posted images.

This reminds me of another saying I like: "Keys are written by people who do not need them for people who cannot use them."  In theory, once a key to a taxon is written by a specialist, we should never again need to ask that specialist for an ID. And, yet in databases we quantify the value of a record ID by whom identified it: the expert or a para-taxonomist using a key.

Hopefully, through macrophotography, sharing the record and social media, this engagement will lead to some understanding that our biota lead intricate lives that are affected by habitat loss, pesticides, urbanisation, climate change and so on.

I wonder if Jason's "endurance" of 3 hours looking at image based citizen science websites led him to see something that I had not foreseen with macrophotography - recording of species behavioural insights.  Photos of a scorpionfly with prey, a flatworm with a newly laid egg case, a fungal habitat etc all enrich an ID record compared to similar ID records from dead specimen on a pin in a Museum collection or a pressed fungus in a Herbarium collection.

I do not expect amateurs to take specimens home to examine under a microscope. I do not expect to transition amateurs into qualified research taxonomists.

Small steps is all I aim for and I accept them as better than none. There should be "no such thing as a silly question". As I said earlier, dealing directly with the public is "scary" as you encounter all levels of understanding, biases, prejudices, mythology and cultural beliefs.

Making observations (through photos) and asking questions (through ID requests) is a good place to start on the road to understanding conservation and biodiversity. Documenting a local fauna provides an emotional context for conservation and biodiversity.  Asking a question about a photographed moth which is ubiquitous but was seen for the first time in someone's back yard is exciting for the individual and can lead to a better understanding and therefore appreciation for conservation and biodiversity.

Ken

Sent from my iPad

> On 26 Oct 2014, at 10:34 am, "JF Mate" <aphodiinaemate at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Sorry Stephen, but I feel you are wrong this time. Lack of information
> is not an issue. I endured 3 hours of picture flipping through
> BowerBird, ProjectNoah and Nature Watch (the latter only 1/2 an hour
> as I was beat by then) to at least know what we are talking about. I
> notice several things.
>
> People submit pictures hoping for an ID but they don´t seem to check
> if someone has already done so before. Sometimes it only takes
> checking last months pics to find a match. In addition they don´t even
> bother to narrow it down. Fully 1/3 are macroleps, for which there are
> plenty of guides around that can get you to at least tribe or genus.
> Couldn´t they at least post the picture with a tentative taxon name
> (Geometrid(?)). That would at least help those ungracious specialists
> find the pics.  And if the taxonomic sampling wasn´t biased enough if
> you checked the first 400 photos (done on friday BTW) in ProjectNoah
> and used this as a sampling of the Coleoptera, you would conclude that
> the fauna is composed primarily of buprestids, cerambycids and
> chrysomelids (Paropsids and bups in Australia, repeatedly the same
> paropsids). Big, showy and obvious. Not a criticisim but it is as
> expected based on people´s general interests.
>
> It takes considerable time and effort to photgraph a specimen from
> every angle in sufficient detail and even then it is only a tentative
> form of identification. What use is a detailed digital collection of
> mostly small, cryptic and difficult to find taxa to these very
> enthusiastic photographers if they don´t even check the Class or
> family or previous identifications? How will they locate the
> appropriate taxon to match with their picture, some sort of colour
> coding or size discrimination? I posit that it would be useful to
> amateur naturalists but they are not the ones posting there because
> they are going the way of the Moa.
>
> There is already a drive for open access articles and, as it is
> becoming increasingly apparent in many journals (Pensoft being the
> most obvious) for picture rich articles. Information has never been
> more accessible and it will become even more so. The blame belongs
> somewhere else.
>
> Best
>
> Jason
>
>> On 26 October 2014 00:33, Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz> wrote:
>> And if you were to make your digital museum freely available online, then a "citizen science" site like iNaturalist would be a convenient repository for it, and we would have an all too rare case of a professional scientist making a really valuable contribution to a public resource.
>>
>> Stephen
>>
>> --------------------------------------------
>> On Sun, 26/10/14, Dr Brian Taylor <dr.brian.taylor at ntlworld.com> wrote:
>>
>> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Citizen Science
>> To: "Stephen Thorpe" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>, "Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>, "Michael Wilson" <wilsomichael at gmail.com>
>> Received: Sunday, 26 October, 2014, 11:10 AM
>>
>> Can I point you in the direction of
>> Antweb.org who now have images of ant
>> type specimens. Although an enormously useful resource to
>> someone, like
>> myself, seeking to verify what, without visiting museums or
>> borrowing the
>> type specimens (not really desirable for fragile dry mounted
>> insects), were
>> often "best guess" identifications of fresh material, the
>> limitation is that
>> the excellent quality Antweb images (photographs) not
>> infrequently do not
>> show diagnostic characters.  On the other hand I have
>> found it possible to
>> identify species from field photographs sent to me. The
>> moral objections to
>> taking specimens perhaps are misguided as, certainly if one
>> is trying to
>> make sound ecological conclusions, or similar, one does, in
>> my view, need to
>> know exactly what species one is studying.  I write
>> this from in-depth
>> experience of such research.  Cytotaxonomy studies in
>> recent years have
>> verified the existence of cryptic sibling species of
>> Anopheles which I felt
>> lay behind an apparent resurgence of malaria transmission in
>> the Solomon
>> Islands some 40 years ago. My conclusions had come from
>> monitoring the time
>> of man-biting before and after house-spraying operations had
>> commenced.
>>
>> In my ant taxonomy studies, I take a series, usually about
>> 20, of simple
>> photographs from different angles and at different levels of
>> magnification.
>> I compile a "photomontage" to illustrate the species and
>> maintain a digital
>> museum of most of the specimens, or representatives from
>> samples of more
>> than one ant. The actual mounted specimens will all go into
>> museum
>> collections but, hopefully, not have to be loaned out and,
>> so, risk damage
>> or loss.
>>
>> Brian
>>
>>
>> On 25/10/2014 22:26, "Stephen Thorpe" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
>> wrote:
>>
>>> The issue of photos vs. specimens is a complex and
>> interesting one. In many
>>> cases, photos are sufficient to identify a species. So,
>> if one wants data on
>>> spatiotemporal distribution, it is a better use of
>> resources to make a
>>> collection of digital photos than it is to accession
>> all those specimens into
>>> a collection which will require continual curation.
>> That said, I am not
>>> necessarily talking about photos of live specimens in
>> the field, which have
>>> limited utility. My vision is diagnostic images of dead
>> specimens, with no
>>> need to then preserve the specimen*. This is my
>> approach on NatureWatch NZ.
>>> Luckily, they, and also iNaturalist and BowerBird have
>> no "ethical" objections
>>> to this approach, but some other sites like ProjectNoah
>> don't appear to be
>>> open to such modifications of their initial purpose
>> and
>>> philosophy.
>>
>> Stephen
>>
>> *One objection to this is that taxonomy changes, and
>>> species get split. However, in practical terms, it
>> would be rare that good
>>> diagnostic photos could not be re-evaluated in the
>> event of taxonomic
>>> changes.
>>
>> --------------------------------------------
>> On Sun, 26/10/14,
>>> Michael Wilson <wilsomichael at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>>  Subject: Re: [Taxacom]
>>> Citizen Science
>>  To: "Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu"
>>> <Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
>>  Received: Sunday, 26 October, 2014, 2:35 AM
>>
>>
>>> 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
>>> signi?cantly over-represented
>>  in
>>>> the NatureWatch records.
>>>> Only
>>> half (55 %) of
>>>> taxa were identi?ed to species level, with
>>  a
>>> further 28 % at genus level, and 17 %
>>>> identi?ed 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-de
>>> ad-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_ma
>>> pView
>>>>>> ).  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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>>>>> communication has
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>>
>>  _______________________________________________
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>>>>> Celebrating 27
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>>>>> Celebrating 27 years
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>>>>>
>>>>> Celebrating 27 years
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>>>> Celebrating 27 years of
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>>> Celebrating 27 years of Taxacom in 2014.
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>>
>>> Celebrating 27 years of Taxacom in 2014.
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>> Celebrating 27 years of Taxacom in 2014.
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>> _______________________________________________
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>> Celebrating 27 years of Taxacom in 2014.
> _______________________________________________
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>
> Celebrating 27 years of Taxacom in 2014.



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