Literature Review: Citizen Science

by Carl Strang

This week’s citation focuses on a topic close to the center of this blog’s overall theme of “citizen science.”

Fontaine B, van Achterberg K, Alonso-Zarazaga MA, Araujo R, Asche M, et al. (2012) New Species in the Old World: Europe as a Frontier in Biodiversity Exploration, a Test Bed for 21st Century Taxonomy. PLoS ONE 7(5): e36881. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0036881  Though new species are being described at the greatest rate in the tropics, an average of 770 new species per year still are being described from Europe. There is a significant citizen science component to this, as 60% of the descriptions are contributed by amateurs.

While it’s true that I hold a Ph.D., like many people with that degree I think of it as something that I did rather than something that I am. My major research interest in recent years has been entomological: singing insects. I have no credentials in entomology, as my degrees are in vertebrate ecology and behavior. But there’s a place for such work, if only for the enrichment of the person conducting it.

I find satisfaction in being the one person tracking the jumping bush cricket’s range expansion in northeast Illinois, for instance.

I find satisfaction in being the one person tracking the jumping bush cricket’s range expansion in northeast Illinois, for instance.

There is a world full of discoveries waiting to be made, and not nearly enough scientists to make them. Science is something one does, not something one is.

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1 Comment

  1. Rob Jean said,

    December 12, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Oh how true it is- many thanks Carl


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