[Taxacom] Citizen Science

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Sun Oct 26 00:22:34 CDT 2014


Regarding Ken's remarks about [identification] keys, during my recent unsuccessful attempt to publish a short note highlighting the uncertainties surrounding Syrphetodes relictus, one of the reviewers (who may have also been one of the authors?) said: So what if the key doesn't work? There are plenty of other characters which might separate the two species. 
Thus I wonder how seriously some taxonomists take the idea that their papers may be used by people to identify specimens?

Stephen

--------------------------------------------
On Sun, 26/10/14, Walker, Ken <kwalker at museum.vic.gov.au> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Citizen Science
 To: "JF Mate" <aphodiinaemate at gmail.com>
 Cc: "Taxacom" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 Received: Sunday, 26 October, 2014, 5:16 PM
 
 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
 >>>>>
 >>>>>
 >>>>
 >>>>
 >>>>>
 >>>>>
 >>>>>
 >>>>>> This e-mail is solely for
 >>>
 >>>> the named addressee and may
 >>>>> be
 >>>> confidential. You
 >>> should only
 >>>> read, disclose, transmit, copy,
 distribute,
 >>>>> act in
 >>> reliance on
 >>>>>> or commercialise the
 >>  contents if
 >>>> you are
 >>> authorised to
 >>>>> do so. If you
 >>>> are
 >>>>>> not the intended
 >>> recipient
 >>>> of this e-mail, please
 >>>>> notify
 >>>> mailto:
 >>>> postmaster at museum.vic.gov.au
 >>>>> by email immediately, or notify
 >>  the
 >>
 >>>>> sender
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 >>>> of this message. Views
 >>
 >>>>>> expressed in
 >>>> this email
 >>>>>> are those of the
 >>> individual sender, except where
 >>>> specifically stated to be
 >>>>
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 >>>> of an officer of Museum Victoria. Museum
 >>  Victoria
 >>> does not represent,
 >>>>>> warrant or guarantee that
 >>  the
 >>>> integrity
 >>> of this
 >>>>> communication has
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 >>>>>> maintained nor that
 >>> it is
 >>>> free from errors, virus or
 >>>> interference.
 >>
 >> 
 _______________________________________________
 >>>
 >>>>>> 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.
 >>>
 _______________________________________________
 >>>> 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/list
 >>> info/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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 contents if you are authorised to do so. If you are not the
 intended recipient of this e-mail, please notify mailto:postmaster at museum.vic.gov.au
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 those of the individual sender, except where specifically
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 Victoria does not represent, warrant or guarantee that the
 integrity of this communication has been maintained nor that
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