Citizen science and global biodiversity
Citizen science and global biodiversity

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Citizen science and global biodiversity

Week 4: Biodiversity recording


You are now familiar with some methods of identifying living organisms, and you will learn about advanced identification techniques in Week 5. It is now time to look at how information about biodiversity can be collected and how citizen scientists can help projects which have the message, ‘We need data!’

Download this video clip.Video player: boc_csgb_1_video_week4_intro.mp4
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The monarch butterflies of North America have an astonishing migration as part of their life cycle. The butterflies are found in the United States and southern Canada. But in the autumn, they fly south to overwinter, some in California, but the majority in the mountains of central Mexico, about 3,000 metres above sea level. And the journey to those overwintering sites may be as much as 3,000 miles.
The butterflies cluster on the branches of fir trees and pass the winter in an inactive state. When the spring arrives, the adults become active again, mate, and start the return journey northwards, the females laying eggs on milkweed plants along the way. None will complete the return journey, and it will be their descendants that reach southern Canada again.
Thanks to the work of thousands of citizen scientists who monitor the butterflies every year, more is being learned about the migration. Some volunteers even tag individual butterflies. This week, you'll learn about a number of survey techniques and you'll get to appreciate how you can contribute to scientific research.
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By the end of this week, you should be able to:

  • explain the value of monitoring animals and the type of information that may be obtained
  • outline the advantages and disadvantages of a given plant survey method
  • give examples of how insects can be collected and surveyed
  • understand the role of citizen scientists in monitoring and surveying projects.

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