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Citizen sciences

Whether they are Sunday walkers, bird-watchers or amateur divers, coastal residents are great sources of scientific information potentially useful to researchers. Some may have noticed the disappearance or return of a bird in a given spot; others may have noted the ever-expanding presence of seaweed, or the gradual decrease in the size of a fish. This field experience is valuable and the trend today is to value it. The Internet has undoubtedly made this major change possible by giving everyone the opportunity to share empirical knowledge, sometimes acquired over many years.

 

This is how citizen sciences programmes saw the day, and multiplied. These sciences "engage researchers and citizens in biodiversity knowledge and conservation objectives" (source: Nature France). The Collectif National Sciences Participatives - Biodiversité suggests the following definition: "Citizen sciences are information-gathering programmes involving the public in a scientific initiative. Citizen science applies in the field of biodiversity to achieve three objectives:

  • Collect data about nature and biodiversity to study its state of health (long-term monitoring);
  • Produce tools to raise awareness and educate the public about nature and biodiversity;
  • Form and mobilise a community around nature conservation issues."

PANACHE therefore naturally includes citizen sciences in its programme of action. And the project goes even further: it aims to establish networks of partners involved locally in such actions to foster the sharing of best practices and tools developed.

PANACHE Shore Laboratory Public event Cornwall Wildlife Trust

Jess Hirons

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updated on 03/05/2015
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