Global Garlic Mustard Field Survey

Global Garlic Mustard Field Survey

Many invasive species, like Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata), are threatening the world's natural resources. The abundance of Garlic Mustard is variable throughout North America and Europe, even for populations that have been established for a long time. Understanding why this variation exists could lead to important new insights into the biology of invasive species and ultimately lead to new and more effective control options

Maybe you wonder if your time would be better spent pulling out Garlic Mustard, rather than measuring it. Control efforts are important, but good scientific research will lead to much more effective control strategies.
The researchers behind the Global Garlic Mustard Field Survey project are integrating survey data with Garlic Mustard eradication efforts to track the effectiveness of different control options in different regions

Through large-scale sampling, scientists can identify areas that differ in the intensity of invasion and try to understand why these differences exist. They can also compare this to variation in the native range. This may be crucial to researching new methods of control, but a large project like this could cost millions of dollars and years of work without help from volunteers.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Robert Colautti, Postdoctoral Scholar (North America)
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: Duke University Department of Biology
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Fieldwork
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages

    Interested citizen scientists should contact the following researchers, depending upon location:
    North America - Dr. Robert Colautti (Duke University)
    North America - Dr. Steven Franks (Fordham University)
    Europe/Asia - Dr. Oliver Bossdorf (University of Bern)

    Here is a list of what participates will need:

    • GPS unit (If you do not have access to a GPS unit, you can download and use GoogleEarth to locate your sites and estimate latitude, longitude and altitude.)
    • 2 meter sticks (or yard sticks)
    • tape measure
    • 20 large paper envelopes (C5 or C4/Lettersized ones will do)
    • pencil (ink will smear if wet)
    • digital camera
    • hand counter (optional but helpful)

See more projects in FreeFieldworkAll Ages.

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

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