Paper Title: Citizen science in data and resource-limited areas: A tool to detect long-term ecosystem changes
Due to increasing threats to coral reefs it is critical to monitor changes in this ecosystem . In areas where long term, sustainable funding is not available, community science monitoring programmes could be a key alternative to conventional monitoring programmes. Data collected by Opwall volunteers in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia, was used to demonstrate the potential of marine citizen science programmes to provide scientifically-sound information that is necessary for detecting ecosystem changes. Data were collected annually from 2002 to 2012 and consisted of fish counts, and the composition of the surface of the sea floor, also known as biotic and abiotic benthic cover. Analyses revealed a continuous decline of hard coral, which had a significant effect on the associated fishes, at community, family and species levels. This paper provides evidence of the importance of marine community science programmes in detecting long-term ecosystem change and delivering conservation data to local government and national agencies. For citizen science data to contribute to ecological monitoring and local decision-making, the data collection needs to adhere to sound scientific standards, and protocols for data evaluation need to be available, which the authors provide guidelines for in the paper.
Authors: Adam Gouraguine, Joan Moranta, Ana Ruiz-Frau, Hilmar Hinz, Olga Reñones, Sebastian C. A. Ferse, Jamaluddin Jompa, David J. Smith
Journal: PLOS ONE
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