Citizen science has been used to detect the aquatic invasive animal Bythotrephes longimanus or the spiny water flea. Bythotrephes are primarily a problem in Ontario, Canada where they tamper with fishing lines and the zooplankton population. Ontario Federation of Anglers (O.F.A.H.) and Hunters’s volunteer program have recruited volunteers to track the Bythotrephes.
To determine the accuracy of the volunteers’ ability, Stephanie A. Boudreau and Norman M. Yan of the Department of Biology at York University in Toronto, collected data from Harp Lake and Sugar Lake. They looked at the probability that the volunteers would collect Bythotrephes if they were present at the time of the sampling, the abundance of Bythotrephes in sample locations, whether 3 sampling locations were efficient, and that the size of the volunteers’ nets were ample. Although the precision of the captured estimates declined with larger sample areas, scientists concluded that citizen science was accurate in tracking Bythotrephes invasions.
Reference: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 91, 17–26, 2004.