Marketplace has a story today about cell phone apps that can help everyday people become citizen scientists. They highlight one really popular app called Project Budburst that allows people everywhere to contribute to databases tracking the phenology, or seasonal timing, of plant activity.
Several other apps out there can help adventurers, parents, or bored socialites interpret and collect data on the natural world. I purchased iBird Pro, which is an interactive bird guide featuring not just drawings and photos of species, along with their ranges and habitats, but even plays their calls! That has been a lot of fun to use to identify the hawks that hang out near my office.
One other app, EpiCollect, is a more general platform that allows researchers to develop their own projects for others to submit data to. How cool is that? The developers describe uses from the ecological diversity of suburban neighborhoods to epidemiological observations for disease control.
Have some biodiversity questions you’re wondering about? Let’s design a protocol and get our friends, students, anyone with a smartphone collecting data for us!