Using Social Networks to Track Species Occurrence

A graduate student from the University of California, Berkeley has developed, a website that empowers citizen scientists to collect species occurrence data. Most recently, it is being used in the Global Amphibian Blitz. The application is similar to eBird, but emphasizes taking pictures of critters encountered, something that is more difficult for mobile species such as birds.

Another version of this idea is Project Noah, a mobile application that can be used to log the location of any species, including a method to have others identify the species from a photograph. Observations can also be contributions to a "project" set up specifically to answer a particular question.

Although citizen science data can be useful for analysis of species distribution and phenology studies (among other applications), a greater benefit may be increasing engagement, appreciation, and awareness of the natural world by the general public. Hopefully, we can develop good applications of this technology for the benefit of bird species (and others) in North Carolina. If you are interested, send me your ideas!