Scientist Affiliation: Michigan Department of Natural Resources
LOCATION: Michigan -
PROJECT TYPE: Fieldwork
GRADE LEVEL: All Ages
TIME COMMITMENT: Variable
HOW TO JOIN:
Citizen scientists can enter their sightings online at www.miherpatlas.org. There is also a mobile app available for download from the website to make field reporting quick and easy. The Mobile Mapper is available for Android and iOS (Apple) devices. Information about the atlas and data submission instructions can be found on the atlas website or can be obtained by sending an e-mail to SargentL@michigan.gov, calling 517-284-6216 or writing to DNR Wildlife Division, Herp Atlas, P.O. Box 30444, Lansing, MI 48909.
The Michigan Herp Atlas Project collects observation data about the state’s native amphibians and reptiles—collectively known as herpetofauna or "herps"—to document their distribution and changes in their populations statewide. To date, there has not been a statewide survey or complete history of Michigan's herp populations.
The Michigan Herp Atlas provides a statewide, publicly accessible, editable database through which citizen scientists can record their own past and present observations to help assess changes in populations over time and measure species health. Recognizing the lack of comprehensive knowledge regarding the distribution and abundance of Michigan's amphibians and reptiles, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) began the Michigan Herp Atlas Project in 2004.
Initially most observations came from research projects or from well-studied locations. Currently the DNR seeks to collect observations from anyone with an interest in herps, from scientists to backyard nature lovers. Project leaders particularly encourage people to submit observations directly to the Atlas Web site from parts of the state where little data has been collected.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Larry Greenemeier is the associate editor of technology for Scientific American, covering a variety of tech-related topics, including biotech, computers, military tech, nanotech and robots.