Overcoming biases and identifying opportunities for citizen science to contribute more to global macroinvertebrate conservation

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Springer Nature
Citizen Science (CS) provides valuable data to assist professional scientists in making informed decisions on macroinvertebrate conservation. However, CS is not developed nor implemented uniformly across the globe, and there are biases and challenges in the extent that it can contribute to global macroinvertebrate conservation. Here, a meta-analysis was performed using 107 Citizen Science Projects (CSPs) to identify underlying biases related to taxon representativity, country wealth, and demographic participation. Macroinvertebrate orders with the highest representativity were Lepidoptera and Hymenoptera, accounting for 53% of represented macroinvertebrate groups. The orders Scorpiones, Parasitiformes, and Spirobolida had proportionately the highest IUCN threat statuses, but significantly lower CSP representation, indicating that these orders require more public attention. Hymenoptera, Odonata, Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Diptera and Clitellata had the highest levels of Data Deficient species, suggesting that the primary objective of CSPs targeted at these orders should be collecting distribution and abundance data to improve Red List assessments. Global distribution of CSPs was uneven and the number of CSPs per country was positively correlated with national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and GDP per capita, suggesting that countries with relatively low GDP face challenges to successfully establish and maintain CSPs. Establishing new CSPs can assist macroinvertebrate conservation in these countries, where biodiversity levels are often high. To accommodate these biases, CSP development should adopt a bottom-up approach, in which CSPs are designed to address data gaps, and to address local socio-economic limitations and cultural ideologies. Guidelines for such development are presented here, with emphasis on addressing societal variations and inter-disciplinary communication gaps to ensure equitable opportunities for CSP participation.
© The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Biodiversity and Conservation, available online at: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10531-023-02595-x . Keywords: macroinvertebrates; public awareness; public engagement; global threats; conservation strategies.
Deacon, C., Govender, S. & Samways, M.J. Overcoming biases and identifying opportunities for citizen science to contribute more to global macroinvertebrate conservation. Biodivers Conserv 32, 1789–1806 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-023-02595-x