Citizen science and global biodiversity
Citizen science and global biodiversity

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Citizen science and global biodiversity

3 Collecting insects

Insects are a very diverse group and can be found in a wide range of habitats. There are many different techniques for collecting and surveying them. This section looks at three examples of insect-collection techniques before moving on to a citizen science case study.

Smaller insects can, of course, be difficult to spot in complex habitats, but your searching will improve with practice. They can be collected using a simple device called a pooter (Figure 12) and then transferred to a tube for later identification.

Described image
Figure 12 Collecting small insects with a pooter

Activity 6 Survey of larger insects

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

Watch the following video and identify the survey method being used. List some examples (including one you have already encountered) of where this survey method would be useful.

Download this video clip.Video player: Video 4
Skip transcript: Video 4

Transcript: Video 4

WOMAN
Susan?
SUSAN BRANDES
Yeah?
WOMAN
Here's one here.
SUSAN BRANDES
Oh, yes.
MATT BAKER
Oh, what's that there?
SUSAN BRANDES
That's one of the blue damselflies. Oh, look, it's washing its head.
MATT BAKER
That's amazing. He's a very flexible chap.
SUSAN BRANDES
He is, isn't he?
MATT BAKER
And very striking.
SUSAN BRANDES
Yes. They're very vivid. It's amazing how quickly they can just disappear when they're so bright. They just disappear behind a leaf and they're gone. I'd walk around the reserve about once a week, or once a fortnight on the same route, looking out for dragonflies to see how many have emerged.
Oh, look, there's another one. That's a Four Spot Chaser.
MATT BAKER
A what?
SUSAN BRANDES
A Four Spot Chaser, much bigger than the damselfly.
MATT BAKER
Yeah.
SUSAN BRANDES
So if you look carefully, you could see it's got four spots on its wings. Well, four spots each side. So I suppose it's eight spots, really. 15 years ago, there were only three species on the moss. But now, there are-- 15 have been seen, of which 11 are regular. So that's improved a lot since the moss has been wetted up. And there's more water for the dragonflies.
And dragonflies are an indicator species. If they're there, then lots of other things will be as well.
MATT BAKER
Yeah. And how long have you been looking at dragonflies there?
SUSAN BRANDES
Since 2002. And it's been interesting to learn about them.
MATT BAKER
Did you know anything them before?
SUSAN BRANDES
I knew nothing at all about dragonflies, apart from they were pretty things that flew around.
End transcript: Video 4
Video 4
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Answer

The survey method shown in the video is a linear survey, such as that used to observe plants and animals living on a beach. It could also be used for bird surveys, for example.

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