Delaney et al. (2008) studied the use of citizen scientists in a project that identified crab species, Carcinus maenas, Hemigrapsus sanguineus and several native species, and determined their gender in intertidal zones ranging from New Jersey to Maine. Acquiring such large amounts of data is typically difficult for scientists because of monetary and personnel limitations, and it leaves massive holes in the crucial information needed to study invasive species.
However, citizen science provides a solution to this issue; Delaney et al. (2008) claim that the scientists gain personnel to collect data from volunteers and the volunteers get exposure to unique hands-on experiences. A common criticism of citizen science is the difficulty of validating data collected by volunteers. Delaney et al. (2008) show that the data collected in their study was mostly accurate, particularly as level of education increased (80% of seventh graders and 95% of second year college students could identify crab gender). Perfection is not needed for such a broad range study, and with more training, citizen scientists could get the job done much more efficiently than scientists alone.
The power of volunteers is needed, and although there are some potential issues like their level of patience, the benefits of citizen science far outweigh the costs and risks.
Delaney, David G., C.D. Sperling, C.S. Adams, and B. Leung. 2008. Marine invasive species: validation of citizen science and implications for national monitoring networks. Biological Invasions 10: 117-128.
I like how concise you kept this. I found it easy to read and understand, and the way you incorporated your own point of view worked well.
I liked how you mentioned that citizen scientists can be used to obtian a large amount of data from the field. I also noted how you mentioned that a con would be the patience levels. I didn’t consider what the risks of using volunteers would be.