Despite the fact that citizen science is a relatively new term, people have been participating and contributing to scientific research for years. The widespread availability of the Internet and the rapid development of smartphones made it easier to share and contribute information. Armed with phones that have built-in GPS receivers people can provide geo-location information about species or situations in real-time. Thus new networks and communities of interested citizen scientists are created each day to learn more about the world and how we can contribute to understanding it.
What exactly is citizen science?
Citizen science is the practice of public participation and collaboration in scientific research to increase scientific knowledge. Through citizen science, people can participate in many stages of the scientific process, from the design of the research question to data collection and volunteer mapping, data interpretation and analysis, and publication and dissemination of results.
Different organisations and projects have been using different ways to integrate citizen scientists into their project and scientific question. Butterflies are the most well-known species among insects that citizen science has been used on for some time. LIFE Apollo2020 is focused on the conservation of Parnassius apollo butterfly and it requires some citizen science involvement.
Your contribution is important
The LIFE Apollo2020 project is focused on the conservation of the Apollo butterfly and you can help to make this project a success! Parnassius apollo is an umbrella species. This means, that by protecting the Apollo butterfly and its habitats, whole ecosystems for other species are also protected. So the more we know about the presence of the Apollo butterfly and its larvae’s feeding plants, the more we can do to protect it, its habitats and many other species.
Different organisations and projects have been using different ways to integrate citizen scientists into their projects and scientific questions. Butterflies are the most well-known species among insects that citizen science has been used on for some time – no worry though! Even if you have never been involved in any citizen science activity, you can take part – have fun and learn something!
Join the iNaturalist project now
To collect all of your observations we chose to use iNaturalist. It’s easy to use and provides great possibilities to collect and share your observations.
One of the world’s most popular nature apps, iNaturalist helps you identify the plants and animals around you. Get connected with a community of over a million scientists and naturalists who can help you learn more about nature! What’s more, by recording and sharing your observations, you’ll create research quality data for scientists working to better understand and protect nature.
All you have to do to join is register on iNaturalist, search for our project “LIFE Citizen Science for Parnassius apollo“ and join it and record your observations.
What and where we are observing in iNaturalist
We aim to collect data about Parnassius apollo and its host plants in Czechia, Poland and Austria in the areas where it is reintroduced to nature within the LIFEApollo2020 project. Parnassius apollo is a typical mountain species, it usually occurs at relatively high altitudes (from 400 to 2300 m above sea level). So look out for it and its larvae’s feeding plants while hiking!
Both data about the incidence of adult individuals of the Apollo butterfly (imago) and about the locations of feeding plants for its larvae (the habitat is crucial for this stage of development) are collected!
Feeding plants for larvae:
The Citizen Science data collection process is being led in parallel with the observations done by entomologists (the Apollo butterfly) and by botanists (feeding plants). It is one of the multiple project actions and aims to engage the larger public in the monitoring measures for the conservation of Parnassius apollo.
#followapollo and the efforts of our team! Combined skills in breeding, conservation of habitats, research, environmental education, and project management constitute a great combination for the success of our LIFE project
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