USGS Western Ecological Research Center

Home Who We Are Where We Are What We Do Products Search Outreach Jobs Contacts

Automating the use of citizen scientists biodiversity surveys in iNaturalist to facilitate early detection of species responses to climate change

Released: 2017
Citation:
Boydston, E.E., J. Briggs, V. Barve, T.L. Morelli. 2017. Automating the use of citizen scientists biodiversity surveys in iNaturalist to facilitate early detection of species responses to climate change. CDI Workshop 2017, Denver, CO. 16-19 May 2017.

With changing climate and land use, plants and animals may respond by moving into new areas. Early detection of these shifts is a challenge for resource managers, but citizen scientists and new technology can help. In 2016 the National Park Service hosted BioBlitz surveys in which visitors and staff used the iNaturalist smartphone app to document species, yielding over 100,000 observations in a spatially-explicit database of verifiable records. For a subset of participating parks, we examined what percent of biodiversity was recorded, how percentages varied across taxa and parks, and if new species were documented. We identified several species not on current NPS species lists, indicating the potential of iNaturalist data for monitoring and conserving biodiversity. Our CDI project will build on this pilot effort to leverage existing capabilities, code, resources, and diverse collaborative expertise (USGS ecologists, NPS resource stewards, university biologists, computer scientists) to translate iNaturalist information into actionable knowledge across parks. We will automate the integration and cross-referencing of the NPS and iNaturalist databases, and test the application with park partners. The resulting tools will support early detection of native and non-native species’ range shifts, giving DOI agencies a head start in managing threats to biodiversity.
Bookmark and Share

Share


Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo USA.gov logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: webmaster@werc.usgs.gov

References to non-U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) products do not constitute an endorsement by the DOI.

* DOI and USGS link policies apply.