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Biodiversity and Ecosystem Informatics - BDEI - Planning a Community Science Approach to Biodiversity Monitoring: Extending the Spatial and Temporal Scales      (Back to Search Results)

Grant Number: 131927

  • Description: Standard Grant
  • Associated Project:
  • Award Date: 2001-09-18
  • Award Period: 2001-09-01 to 2003-08-31
  • Amount: $ 49801.00

Primary Investigator:
Robert Stevenson

Robert Stevenson
Robert Morris


Government Domain:
Natural Resource Management

Primary Institution:
U of Massachusetts Boston

Project Home Page:

Latest Project Highlight:

EIA-0131927 Stevenson, Robert University of Massachusetts - Boston BDEI: Planning a Community Science Approach to Biodiversity Monitoring: Extending the Spatial and Temporal Scales. Increasing the spatial scales and temporal frequencies at which species occurrences and locations are recorded is central to biodiversity informatics. There are not nearly enough trained scientists to do the job and remote sensing methods have severe limitations for most taxa. This project examines the idea that it is now possible to rapidly build communities of people (academic taxonomists, amateur natural historians, environmental educators, concerned citizens and students) and institutions (universities, environmental NGOs, governmental agencies and schools) to produce important scientific data about biodiversity. Building monitoring communities is made possible by digital technologies that permit three key advances: 1) Rapid Color Guides, the production on demand of high quality yet relatively inexpensive mini color field guides (here called Rapid Color Guides, Foster 1998) that will allow amateurs to correctly identify many more species in the field. 2) Spatial Coordinates, the ability to accurately record (within a 3 m radius under the best conditions) the spatial coordinates of individuals or populations using new GPS (Global Positioning System) units. 3) E-Vouchers, the availability of very high quality digital cameras that are field portable and relatively easy to use that can capture an electronic record of observations in the field. Along with the wide acceptance of the WWW, these advances permit people to gather and share biodiversity information in unprecedented ways. Three studies are planned and prototyped to examine this general claim. First, the variety of taxa recorded during Massachusetts Biodiversity Days, a three- day statewide citizen-based effort to monitor biodiversity already established in Massachusetts ( will be expanded. Taxonomic specialists using digital cameras and printers will design Rapid Color Guides for taxa, which are common (e.g. ants, bumblebees, spiders, weeds) but rarely recorded by observers because of the lack of a suitable method to identify them.