7 results found
Davies L, Fradera R, Riesch H, et al., 2016, Surveying the citizen science landscape: an exploration of the design, delivery and impact of citizen science through the lens of the Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) programme, BMC Ecology, Vol: 16, Pages: 17-17, ISSN: 1472-6785
BACKGROUND: This paper provides a short introduction to the topic of citizen science (CS) identifying the shift from the knowledge deficit model to more inclusive, participatory science. It acknowledges the benefits of new technology and the opportunities it brings for mass participation and data manipulation. It focuses on the increase in interest in CS in recent years and draws on experience gained from the Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) programme launched in England in 2007. METHODS: The drivers and objectives for OPAL are presented together with background information on the partnership, methods and scales. The approaches used by researchers ranged from direct public participation in mass data collection through field surveys to research with minimal public engagement. The supporting services focused on education, particularly to support participants new to science, a media strategy and data services. RESULTS: Examples from OPAL are used to illustrate the different approaches to the design and delivery of CS that have emerged over recent years and the breadth of opportunities for public participation the current landscape provides. Qualitative and quantitative data from OPAL are used as evidence of the impact of CS. CONCLUSION: While OPAL was conceived ahead of the more recent formalisation of approaches to the design, delivery and analysis of CS projects and their impact, it nevertheless provides a range of examples against which to assess the various benefits and challenges emerging in this fast developing field.
Lakeman-Fraser P, Gosling L, Moffat AJ, et al., 2016, To have your citizen science cake and eat it? Delivering research and outreach through Open Air Laboratories (OPAL), BMC Ecology, Vol: 16, ISSN: 1472-6785
BACKGROUND: The vast array of citizen science projects which have blossomed over the last decade span a spectrum of objectives from research to outreach. While some focus primarily on the collection of rigorous scientific data and others are positioned towards the public engagement end of the gradient, the majority of initiatives attempt to balance the two. Although meeting multiple aims can be seen as a 'win-win' situation, it can also yield significant challenges as allocating resources to one element means that they may be diverted away from the other. Here we analyse one such programme which set out to find an effective equilibrium between these arguably polarised goals. Through the lens of the Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) programme we explore the inherent trade-offs encountered under four indicators derived from an independent citizen science evaluation framework. Assimilating experience from the OPAL network we investigate practical approaches taken to tackle arising tensions. RESULTS: Working backwards from project delivery to design, we found the following elements to be important: ensuring outputs are fit for purpose, developing strong internal and external collaborations, building a sufficiently diverse partnership and considering target audiences. We combine these 'operational indicators' with four pre-existing 'outcome indicators' to create a model which can be used to shape the planning and delivery of a citizen science project. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that whether the proverb in the title rings true will largely depend on the identification of challenges along the way and the ability to address these conflicts throughout the citizen science project.
Bates AJ, Lakeman Fraser P, Robinson L, et al., 2015, The OPAL bugs count survey: exploring the effects of urbanisation and habitat characteristics using citizen science, Urban Ecosystems, Vol: 18, Pages: 1477-1497, ISSN: 1083-8155
Brummitt NA, Bachman SP, Griffiths-Lee J, et al., 2015, Green Plants in the Red: A Baseline Global Assessment for the IUCN Sampled Red List Index for Plants, PLOS One, Vol: 10, ISSN: 1932-6203
Plants provide fundamental support systems for life on Earth and are the basis for all terrestrial ecosystems; a decline in plant diversity will be detrimental to all other groups of organisms including humans. Decline in plant diversity has been hard to quantify, due to the huge numbers of known and yet to be discovered species and the lack of an adequate baseline assessment of extinction risk against which to track changes. The biodiversity of many remote parts of the world remains poorly known, and the rate of new assessments of extinction risk for individual plant species approximates the rate at which new plant species are described. Thus the question ‘How threatened are plants?’ is still very difficult to answer accurately. While completing assessments for each species of plant remains a distant prospect, by assessing a randomly selected sample of species the Sampled Red List Index for Plants gives, for the first time, an accurate view of how threatened plants are across the world. It represents the first key phase of ongoing efforts to monitor the status of the world’s plants. More than 20% of plant species assessed are threatened with extinction, and the habitat with the most threatened species is overwhelmingly tropical rain forest, where the greatest threat to plants is anthropogenic habitat conversion, for arable and livestock agriculture, and harvesting of natural resources. Gymnosperms (e.g. conifers and cycads) are the most threatened group, while a third of plant species included in this study have yet to receive an assessment or are so poorly known that we cannot yet ascertain whether they are threatened or not. This study provides a baseline assessment from which trends in the status of plant biodiversity can be measured and periodically reassessed.
Lakeman-Fraser P, Ewers RM, 2014, Untangling interactions: do temperature and habitat fragmentation gradients simultaneously impact biotic relationships?, PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B-BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES, Vol: 281, ISSN: 0962-8452
Pfeifer M, Lefebvre V, Gardner TA, et al., 2014, BIOFRAG - a new database for analyzing BIOdiversity responses to forest FRAGmentation, Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 4, Pages: 1524-1537, ISSN: 2045-7758
Lakeman-Fraser P, Ewers RM, 2013, Enemy release promotes range expansion in a host plant, OECOLOGIA, Vol: 172, Pages: 1203-1212, ISSN: 0029-8549
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