In Delaney et. al (2008), the authors presented an initiative to expand the responsibilities of data collection and species conservation into the hands of everyday citizens. This project consisted of 1000 volunteers that assessed the populations of invasive and native crabs in seven eastern coastal states of the US. Volunteers were asked to record the species and gender of the crabs. It was found that third and seventh grade students had significant ability to identify the species of a crab, but further education was often necessary for a volunteer to successfully identify its gender.
The problem with citizen science is that many scientists won’t accept it as a useful practice since all data collected must be validated. Currently, there is no system to effectively do so. This experiment essentially fixed this issue by allowing users to submit info to a database and establish eligibility criteria for citizen scientists. However, a few issues arise as funding is limited for monitoring of the data and universal training and cooperation.
In my opinion, citizen science, although flawed, could be useful for implementation in the data collection on invasive species. By enlisting the help of hundreds, even thousands of somewhat educated people, most of the inaccuracies of the data are accounted for ( as evident by the 95% accuracy of identifying gender by university educated people (Delaney et. al 2008)). However, further research should be conducted on whether or not this amount of motivated citizen scientists would be willing to conduct the same surveys on other lesser-known invasive species.
Delaney, D.G., Sperling, C.D., Adams, C.S., Leung,B. “Marine invasive species: validation of citizen science and implications for national monitoring networks” Biological Invasions (2008) 10: 117-28
You give a very nice and concise description of the article. I really like how you hit all the main points in without being wordy. Also I agree that citizen science has potential but that further research must address the inaccuracies of this method. Preferably a greater number of participants should be used to conduct these new studies.
I agree with Mike, and I also thought that your summary was good because it was to the point and easy to understand. It does seem like an issue though that there might not be enough people to do this job, and I like the idea of doing research to see if there are enough people willing to study less-known invasives.