Cover AugustSubmitted by editor on 18 August 2021.Get the paper!
This month's cover features an illustration inspired by the FORUM PAPER titled "Deriving indicators of biodiversity change from unstructured community-contributed data"
Citizen science is a vast and growing resource for understanding global biodiversity as it shifts in the throes of the Anthropocene. But how can a jumble of unstructured data be useful scientifically? This study confronts four main challenges of harvesting insights from community-contributed data, and presents solutions for overcoming those hurdles—with the help of practices already in use to compensate for bias within professional science.
The authors take examples from California’s rocky intertidal zone, comparing citizen science observations with scientific survey results, to illustrate their strategies: reverse-engineering survey structure, borrowing strength across taxa, modeling the observation process, and integrating standardized data sources. Citizen science, they suggest, is “poised to become an important tool for biodiversity monitoring locally and globally, at a time when the early detection of biodiversity responses…requires eyes everywhere at all times.”
Illustration by Abby McBride @sketchbiologist