Presentation Title

Crab Team: Addressing an agency mandate with citizen science

Session Title

Tools and Strategies for Growing Citizen Science

Conference Track

Engagement

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (2016 : Vancouver, B.C.)

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type of Presentation

Oral

Abstract

Citizen science approaches are an attractive option for projects that require large scale data collection. However not all large scale projects are necessarily suitable for citizen science. For instance, agency mandates to conduct environmental monitoring could benefit from the cost-effective approach of volunteer monitoring, but the project goals might not be suitable for, or attractive to, volunteers. A citizen science monitoring program to meet a WDFW mandate to monitor for invasive European green crab (Carcinus maenas) was designed by Washington Sea Grant with such balance in mind.

Meeting the directive to maximize detection probability for a species that might be rare, or might never be present, presents unique challenges for volunteer engagement and retention. How do we prepare volunteers to search for an organism which they have never seen in real life, and have no search image for, while maintaining a low probability of false negatives? How do we sustain their engagement with the project if, and/or when, the monitoring target is never detected? Moreover, how do we balance motivating volunteers about the urgency of the threat, with managing their expectations of agency intervention if the invasive does become established?

These questions will be explored as we discuss our approaches to the European green crab monitoring program. With thoughtful design, citizen science projects can be tailored to suit diverse scientific needs, expanding the engagement, educational, and community benefits of the projects.

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

Type

Text

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Crab Team: Addressing an agency mandate with citizen science

2016SSEC

Citizen science approaches are an attractive option for projects that require large scale data collection. However not all large scale projects are necessarily suitable for citizen science. For instance, agency mandates to conduct environmental monitoring could benefit from the cost-effective approach of volunteer monitoring, but the project goals might not be suitable for, or attractive to, volunteers. A citizen science monitoring program to meet a WDFW mandate to monitor for invasive European green crab (Carcinus maenas) was designed by Washington Sea Grant with such balance in mind.

Meeting the directive to maximize detection probability for a species that might be rare, or might never be present, presents unique challenges for volunteer engagement and retention. How do we prepare volunteers to search for an organism which they have never seen in real life, and have no search image for, while maintaining a low probability of false negatives? How do we sustain their engagement with the project if, and/or when, the monitoring target is never detected? Moreover, how do we balance motivating volunteers about the urgency of the threat, with managing their expectations of agency intervention if the invasive does become established?

These questions will be explored as we discuss our approaches to the European green crab monitoring program. With thoughtful design, citizen science projects can be tailored to suit diverse scientific needs, expanding the engagement, educational, and community benefits of the projects.