In the article “Marine invasive species: validation of citizen science and implications for national monitoring networks”, Delaney et al used participants from New Jersey to Maine to monitor two types of invasive crab species. Volunteers recorded the population of Carcinus maenas and Hemigrpsus sanguineus along with several native species at a multitude of different test sites between the two states. They also recorded length and gender of each subject. The use of citizen Science in this study is excellent. The article shows how citizen science causes a deep reduction in costs because the scientists can use local volunteers instead of travelling to all these locations to record data. Especially in these tough economic times, the government has limited funds to invest in aquatic invasive research. If studies can be done to record these species at minimal costs, more funds can be allotted to the removal or control of them. In my opinion, researches should have minimal dependence on government funding, and by reducing costs; government will have less of a financial obligation. Secondly, this example showed how citizen science allowed local communities to get involved in studying aquatic invasive species. The article showed how school children were effective in figuring out certain qualities of the crabs. Here children are given a free opportunity to get outside the classroom and use science in a constructive way. In essence, citizen science not only helps the advancement of the study but also allows children to be exposed to material outside the classroom.
Like the previous example, a study done William Darwall and Nicholas Dulvy showed how citizen science could be used in reef studies. The scientists showed that divers who were only trained for two weeks (one dive a day) could effectively document fish data. This data includes fish diversity, population and length. They could record this information at a comparable level of accuracy to that of experts in the field. Like the previous example, using citizen science to document reef habitats could greatly reduce costs. If a researcher wanted information from certain reefs, he could use average people to conduct the study rather than hiring expensive experts. This example shows that researchers can save money and involve the public by using citizen science.
Dulvy & Darwall An evaluation of the suitability of non-specialist volunteer research for coral reef fish surveys. 1996 Biological conservation.
Delaney, Sperling, adams, leung “Marine invasive species: validation of citizen science and implications for national monitoring networks. 2008 Biological invasions
Citizen science seems like a very useful tool to help with data collection in scientific studies and experiments. I would like to use this method to help collect the data for my study on the effect of biocontrol beetles used on purple loosestrife. The volunteers would aid the information collection because my study will be collected over a fifty meter radius from the spot where the beetle colony is released, an area of approximately 7850 m2. This would make data collection for the scientists tough because it would be tough to thoroughly cover that much area in a timely and efficient manner, so the help of volunteers would help speed up the process.
Citizen science in general obviously has its drawbacks, but in my case, these actually won’t be an issue. For example, the data that is gathered by the volunteers is not always accurate, and needs verification, but in this case, since the volunteers would simply be searching for damage to leaf structures, it would be quite obvious if there was damage to the swamp loosestrife or not, so there wouldn’t have to be too much worrying about data and its accuracy. Also, though another drawback could be communication among volunteers, it would easy to communicate with cell phone and walkie talkies in the field, and emails to arrange times for the volunteers to come in.