ADVERTISEMENT
latest stories:

iNaturalist.org Global Amphibian Blitz

<i>iNaturalist.org</i> Global Amphibian Blitz

For a variety of reasons (including disease, loss of habitat and pollution) the world's frogs and other amphibians are rapidly disappearing. Recent estimates suggest that nearly one-third of the world's amphibian population is facing extinction and that 168 species have already gone extinct in the last two decades.

Coordinators of Global Amphibian Blitz are calling on citizen scientists to help arrest this problem by taking stock of amphibian populations worldwide. This includes observing, photographing and recording information about local amphibians. Images can be posted to the Global Amphibian Blitz Web site and amphibian locations are plotted on a world map. In the project's first week alone, researchers say they were able to locate 303 distinct species worldwide—4.4 percent of the 6,815 amphibian species on this planet.

In order to protect rare species when they are identified, iNaturalist.org obscures specific locations to protect the amphibians from those who might harm them. Public coordinates describing the locations of species whose names appear on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources "Red List"—at high risk for global extinction—are obscured by about 5 kilometers. The reporting citizen scientist, however, does see the exact coordinates of his or hear observation.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Scott Loarie
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: post-doc at the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Observation
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages
  • TIME COMMITMENT: Variable
  • HOW TO JOIN:

    Citizen scientists can create an account with iNaturalist.org, or sign in through an existing Yahoo, Google, Facebook or Twitter account. Photos of amphibians taken out in the field can be loaded from a hard drive or Flickr or Picasa accounts. Citizen scientists are asked to identify the amphibians in their photos as best they can—all identifications will be checked and verified by Global Amphibian Blitz's organizers.

    For more information, contact Scott Loarie: loarie@stanford.edu

See more projects in FreeObservationAll 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.

Share this Article:

Comments

You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.
Scientific American Holiday Sale

Give a Gift &
Get a Gift - Free!

Give a 1 year subscription as low as $14.99

Subscribe Now! >

X

Email this Article

X