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An affordable and reliable assessment of aquatic decomposition : Tailoring the Tea Bag Index to surface waters
Seelen, Laura M.S. ; Flaim, Giovanna ; Keuskamp, Joost ; Teurlincx, Sven ; Arias Font, Raquel ; Tolunay, Duygu ; Fránková, Markéta ; Šumberová, Kateřina ; Temponeras, Maria ; Lenhardt, Mirjana ; Jennings, Eleanor ; Senerpont Domis, Lisette N. de - \ 2019
Water Research 151 (2019). - ISSN 0043-1354 - p. 31 - 43.
Carbon cycle - Citizen science - Decomposition constant - European lakes - Lake management - Standardized ecological assay
Litter decomposition is a vital part of the global carbon cycle as it determines not only the amount of carbon to be sequestered, but also how fast carbon re-enters the cycle. Freshwater systems play an active role in the carbon cycle as it receives, and decomposes, terrestrial litter material alongside decomposing aquatic plant litter. Decomposition of organic matter in the aquatic environment is directly controlled by water temperature and nutrient availability, which are continuously affected by global change. We adapted the Tea Bag Index (TBI), a highly standardized methodology for determining soil decomposition, for lakes by incorporating a leaching factor. By placing Lipton pyramid tea bags in the aquatic environment for 3 h, we quantified the period of intense leaching which usually takes place prior to litter (tea) decomposition. Standard TBI methodology was followed after this step to determine how fast decomposition takes place (decomposition rate, k1) and how much of the material cannot be broken down and is thus sequestered (stabilization factor, S). A Citizen Science project was organized to test the aquatic TBI in 40 European lakes located in four climate zones, ranging from oligotrophic to hypereutrophic systems. We expected that warmer and/or eutrophic lakes would have a higher decomposition rate and a more efficient microbial community resulting in less tea material to be sequestered. The overall high decomposition rates (k1) found confirm the active role lakes play in the global carbon cycle. Across climate regions the lakes in the warmer temperate zone displayed a higher decomposition rate (k1) compared to the colder lakes in the continental and polar zones. Across trophic states, decomposition rates were higher in eutrophic lakes compared to oligotrophic lakes. Additionally, the eutrophic lakes showed a higher stabilization (S), thus a less efficient microbial community, compared to the oligotrophic lakes, although the variation within this group was high. Our results clearly show that the TBI can be used to adequately assess the decomposition process in aquatic systems. Using “alien standard litter” such as tea provides a powerful way to compare decomposition across climates, trophic states and ecosystems. By providing standardized protocols, a website, as well as face to face meetings, we also showed that collecting scientifically relevant data can go hand in hand with increasing scientific and environmental literacy in participants. Gathering process-based information about lake ecosystems gives managers the best tools to anticipate and react to future global change. Furthermore, combining this process-based information with citizen science, thus outreach, is in complete agreement with the Water Framework Directive goals as set in 2010.
Reflections on the potential of virtual citizen science platforms to address collective action challenges : Lessons and implications for future research
Leeuwis, Cees ; Cieslik, K.J. ; Aarts, M.N.C. ; Dewulf, A.R.P.J. ; Ludwig, F. ; Werners, S.E. ; Struik, P.C. - \ 2018
NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 86-87 (2018). - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 146 - 157.
Action research - Agricultural development - Citizen science - Collective action - Connective action - Environmental observatories - ICT - Public goods
Rural communities in Africa are facing numerous challenges related to human health, agricultural production, water scarcity and service delivery. Addressing such challenges requires effective collective action and coordination among stakeholders, which often prove difficult to achieve. Against the background of the increased availability of information and communication technologies (ICTs), this article synthesizes the lessons from six case-studies reported in this Special Issue. The cases investigate the possible role of digital citizen science platforms (labelled EVOCAs: Environmental Virtual Observatories for Connective Action) in overcoming the challenges of integrating heterogeneous actors in collective management of common resources and/or the provision of public goods. Inspired by the seminal work of Elinor Ostrom, our expectation was that such platforms could help operationalize communication and information-related design principles and community conditions that are known to enhance the capacity to address environmental challenges. This article presents some cross-cutting insights and reflections regarding the nature of the challenges identified by the diagnostic studies, and on the relevance and significance of Ostrom's framework and analysis. It also reflects on the plausibility of our original ideas and assumptions by assessing what the various studies tell us about the significance and potential of key components of an EVOCA-type intervention: i.e. environmental monitoring, ICT, connective action, citizen science and responsible design. At the same time, we draw lessons for follow-up research and action in our research program and beyond by identifying several issues and themes that merit further investigation. Based on the case-studies, we conclude that many collective action challenges are of a more complex nature than originally anticipated, and often cannot be resolved within clearly demarcated communities. While this complicates the realization of Ostrom's communication and information-related design principles and community features, there may still be a meaningful role for digital citizen science platforms. To help address complex challenges, they must be oriented towards fostering adaptive and systemic learning across interdependent stakeholder communities, rather than focusing on the self-betterment of the communities alone. Such digital platforms need to be developed in a responsible manner that ensures complementarity with already existing patterns of communication and ICT-use, that anticipates dynamics of trust and distrust among interdependent stakeholders, and that prevents typical problems associated with the sharing of information such as privacy infringement and undesirable control over information by outsiders.
A citizen science approach for malaria mosquito surveillance and control in Rwanda
Murindahabi, Marilyn Milumbu ; Asingizwe, Domina ; Poortvliet, P.M. ; Vliet, Arnold J.H. van; Hakizimana, Emmanuel ; Mutesa, Leon ; Takken, Willem ; Koenraadt, Constantianus J.M. - \ 2018
NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 86-87 (2018). - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 101 - 110.
Citizen science - Community participation - Malaria vector surveillance - Mosquito monitoring - Mosquito nuisance
Despite the implementation of a number of interventions aimed at controlling malaria, Rwanda is experiencing a countrywide resurgence of simple malaria cases over the past five years. To support malaria control, mosquito surveillance activities, such as systematic reporting of the distribution, the diversity and the infectivity rate of malaria vectors throughout the country, have been undertaken. However, mosquito monitoring programmes are not carried out to monitor the impact of all vector control interventions or to determine the distribution of mosquito species in all areas, especially in the remote regions of the country. With a target of reducing malaria mortality by 2020, implementation of mosquito surveillance in those regions is urgently needed as well. In this paper, a Citizen science approach as a capacity resource for malaria vector monitoring for the Rwandan National Malaria Control Programme is presented. The ultimate aim is to complement existing mosquito surveillance currently in place by providing key information on the spatio-temporal distribution of mosquito nuisance and malaria vectors. This will contribute to an insight into the ecology of malaria vectors and thereby to a better understanding of malaria transmission patterns in Rwanda.
Addressing socio-ecological development challenges in the digital age : Exploring the potential of Environmental Virtual Observatories for Connective Action (EVOCA)
Cieslik, K.J. ; Leeuwis, C. ; Dewulf, A.R.P.J. ; Lie, R. ; Werners, S.E. ; Wessel, M. van; Feindt, P. ; Struik, P.C. - \ 2018
NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 86-87 (2018). - ISSN 1573-5214 - p. 2 - 11.
Citizen science - Collective action - Connective action - EVOs - ICT4D - Participatory environmental monitoring
Climate change, (a) biotic stresses and environmental degradation are adversely affecting the sustenance of farming communities in Africa. Addressing such challenges requires effective collective action and coordination among stakeholders, which often prove difficult to achieve. Timely and context-specific information on relevant environmental dynamics holds considerable promise to overcome these problems. This paper investigates the role of citizen science in facilitating knowledge co-creation and sharing between academia, development actors and users in developing country contexts. In our approach, we focus on information sharing platforms (known as Environmental Virtual Observatories, EVOs) and their potential to facilitate adaptive decision-making in six rural case-study areas in Africa. We complement the existing theory on EVOs with a focused exploration of the connective function of ICT-enabled multi-stakeholder exchange. We propose that increased connectivity may enable new forms of collective action (labelled ‘connective action’), relevant to addressing socio-ecological challenges. Along these lines, this paper presents the theoretical and conceptual grounding of a research program that aspires to develop Environmental Virtual Observatories for Connective Action (EVOCAs) and to explore their potential for improved crop, water, livestock and disease management in rural Africa.
Consumer-friendly food allergen detection : moving towards smartphone-based immunoassays
Ross, Georgina M.S. ; Bremer, Monique G.E.G. ; Nielen, Michel W.F. - \ 2018
Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 410 (2018)22. - ISSN 1618-2642 - p. 5353 - 5371.
Citizen science - Consumer - Food allergen - Immunoassay - Multiplex - Smartphone
In this critical review, we provide a comprehensive overview of immunochemical food allergen assays and detectors in the context of their user-friendliness, through their connection to smartphones. Smartphone-based analysis is centered around citizen science, putting analysis into the hands of the consumer. Food allergies represent a significant worldwide health concern and consumers should be able to analyze their foods, whenever and wherever they are, for allergen presence. Owing to the need for a scientific background, traditional laboratory-based detection methods are generally unsuitable for the consumer. Therefore, it is important to develop simple, safe, and rapid assays that can be linked with smartphones as detectors to improve user accessibility. Smartphones make excellent detection systems because of their cameras, embedded flash functions, portability, connectivity, and affordability. Therefore, this review has summarized traditional laboratory-based methods for food allergen detection such as enzyme-linked-immunosorbent assay, flow cytometry, and surface plasmon resonance, and the potential to modernize these methods by interfacing them with a smartphone readout system, based on the aforementioned smartphone characteristics. This is the first review focusing on smartphone-based food-allergen detection methods designed with the intention of being consumer-friendly. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]
Public participation in science : The future and value of citizen science in the drinking water research
Brouwer, Stijn ; Wielen, Paul W.J.J. van der; Schriks, Merijn ; Claassen, Maarten ; Frijns, Jos - \ 2018
Water 10 (2018)3. - ISSN 2073-4441
Amsterdam - Citizen science - Drinking water quality - Knowledge generation - Participation
This paper explores the value of involving citizens in the generation of knowledge in drinking water research. To this end, the significance of the 'Freshness of Water' citizen science project on the microbiological stability of drinking water was analyzed, supplemented with a series of expert interviews. In this project, citizens of Amsterdam participated in taking samples from their own kitchen tap and testing the water using test strips. The subsequent monitoring of bacteria revealed that the total number of bacterial species in all of the Amsterdam drinking water samples was high. For the participants, the presence of ten thousands of bacterial species in their drinking water, as well as the interpretation that this is perfectly normal and not a health concern, was obviously new. However, instead of causing concern or worry, this transparency clearly functioned as a strong confidence-inducing signal. A majority of the citizen scientists state that, as a result of their participation, their confidence in the quality of drinking water and the water company has increased. This study suggests that citizen science can raise the participant's water awareness and that, with the appropriate support, non-professionals can make a valuable contribution to scientific drinking water research.
Woodland ectomycorrhizal fungi benefit from large-scale reduction in nitrogen deposition in the Netherlands
Strien, Arco J. van; Boomsluiter, Menno ; Noordeloos, Machiel E. ; Verweij, Richard J.T. ; Kuijper, Thomas - \ 2018
Journal of Applied Ecology 55 (2018)1. - ISSN 0021-8901 - p. 290 - 298.
Citizen science - Ectomycorrhiza - Environmental measures - Legacy - Mycoflora - Nitrogen deposition - Saprotrophs - Wood parasites
Woodland ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungal species declined considerably in the Netherlands in the late 20th century, mainly due to raised levels of atmospheric nitrogen deposition. Environmental measures have been taken to reduce this deposition, but it remains unclear whether and to what extent ECM species have benefitted from these. We hypothesized that ECM species, especially those species that are known to be nitrophobic, that is, sensitive to nitrogen loading, have recovered to some extent from the reduction in nitrogen deposition after 1994. We further hypothesized that, due to legacy effects of deposition, recovery has been stronger in regions where deposition levels have previously been lower. To test these hypotheses, we analysed long-term opportunistic data, that is, observations collected without standardized field method. We applied data filtering and a modified List Length method to adjust for potential biases in these data. The removal of bias left us with two periods to examine ECM species trends: before (1965-1985) and after (1994-2013) deposition reduction started [in 1994]. We compared trends in ECM species in 1965-1985 with those in 1994-2013. Multispecies indicators were used to summarize the findings of ECM species, and to compare these with results of litter saprotrophic species and wood saprotrophic and wood parasitic species. We found that (1) most trends switched in direction from negative to positive after the reduction in nitrogen deposition began; (2) these trends were more pronounced for nitrophobic ECM species than for nitrotolerant ECM species; (3) trends for ECM species differed from those of the other functional groups; and (4) recovery was stronger in the region with a history of lower deposition. Policy implications. Our results suggest that woodland ectomycorrhizal species benefit substantially from environmental measures to reduce nitrogen deposition. Our study is one of few scientific studies to date documenting evidence of success of large-scale (nation-wide) environmental measures. We have demonstrated that opportunistic citizen science data can be used for the detection of species trends, but it is essential to examine and control for potential bias in the data.
How do Europeans want to live in 2040? Citizen visions and their consequences for European land use
Metzger, Marc J. ; Murray-Rust, Dave ; Houtkamp, Joske ; Jensen, Anne ; Riviere, Inge la; Paterson, James S. ; Pérez-Soba, Marta ; Valluri-Nitsch, Christiane - \ 2018
Regional Environmental Change 18 (2018)3. - ISSN 1436-3798 - p. 789 - 802.
Citizen science - Crowdsourcing - European citizens - Land use - Scenarios - Visions
The aspirations, motivations and choices of individual European citizens are a major driver of the future of global, European and local land use. However, until now no land use study has explicitly attempted to find out how the general public wants to live in the future. This paper forms a first attempt to survey European citizens to understand their desired future lives in relation to consequences for European land use. We used a crowdsourcing experiment to elicit visions from young Europeans about their lives in 2040. Participants completed a graphic novel around carefully selected questions, allowing them to create a story of their imagined future lives in pictures. The methodology worked well, and the sample seemed reasonably representative albeit skewed towards an educated population. In total, 1131 responses from 29 countries were received. Results show a strong desire for change, and for more sustainable lifestyles. There is desire for local and ecologically friendly food production, to eat less meat, to have access to green infrastructure and the ability to cycle to work. However, international travel remains popular, and the desire for extensive food production and owning detached houses with gardens will likely result in complex land use trade-offs. Future work could focus more specifically on quantifying these trade-offs and inform respondents about the consequences of their lifestyle choices. This was a first attempt to use crowdsourcing to understand citizen visions for their lives in the future, and our lessons learned will help future studies improve representativeness and increase responses.
Big data integration : Pan-European fungal species observations' assembly for addressing contemporary questions in ecology and global change biology
Andrew, Carrie ; Heegaard, Einar ; Kirk, Paul M. ; Bässler, Claus ; Heilmann-Clausen, Jacob ; Krisai-Greilhuber, Irmgard ; Kuijper, Thomas ; Senn-Irlet, Beatrice ; Büntgen, Ulf ; Kauserud, Håvard - \ 2017
Fungal Biology Reviews 31 (2017)2. - ISSN 1749-4613 - p. 88 - 98.
Biogeography - Citizen science - Fungi - Global change - Meta-database - Open-source
Species occurrence observations are increasingly available for scientific analyses through citizen science projects and digitization of museum records, representing a largely untapped ecological resource. When combined with open-source data, there is unparalleled potential for understanding many aspects of the ecology and biogeography of organisms. Here we describe the process of assembling a pan-European mycological meta-database (ClimFun) and integrating it with open-source data to advance the fields of macroecology and biogeography against a backdrop of global change. Initially 7.3 million unique fungal species fruit body records, spanning nine countries, were processed and assembled into 6 million records of more than 10,000 species. This is an extraordinary amount of fungal data to address macro-ecological questions. We provide two examples of fungal species with different life histories, one ectomycorrhizal and one wood decaying, to demonstrate how such continental-scale meta-databases can offer unique insights into climate change effects on fungal phenology and fruiting patterns in recent decades.
The role of digital data entry in participatory environmental monitoring
Brammer, Jeremy R. ; Brunet, Nicolas D. ; Burton, A.C. ; Cuerrier, Alain ; Danielsen, Finn ; Dewan, Kanwaljeet ; Herrmann, Thora Martina ; Jackson, Micha V. ; Kennett, Rod ; Larocque, Guillaume ; Mulrennan, Monica ; Pratihast, Arun Kumar ; Saint-Arnaud, Marie ; Scott, Colin ; Humphries, Murray M. - \ 2016
Conservation Biology 30 (2016)6. - ISSN 0888-8892 - p. 1277 - 1287.
Ciencia ciudadana - Citizen science - Community-based monitoring - Conocimiento ecológico tradicional - Monitoreo basado en comunidades - Monitoreo y manejo participativo - Participación de público en la investigación científica - Participatory monitoring and management - Public participation in scientific research - Traditional ecological knowledge
Many argue that monitoring conducted exclusively by scientists is insufficient to address ongoing environmental challenges. One solution entails the use of mobile digital devices in participatory monitoring (PM) programs. But how digital data entry affects programs with varying levels of stakeholder participation, from nonscientists collecting field data to nonscientists administering every step of a monitoring program, remains unclear. We reviewed the successes, in terms of management interventions and sustainability, of 107 monitoring programs described in the literature (hereafter programs) and compared these with case studies from our PM experiences in Australia, Canada, Ethiopia, Ghana, Greenland, and Vietnam (hereafter cases). Our literature review showed that participatory programs were less likely to use digital devices, and 2 of our 3 more participatory cases were also slow to adopt digital data entry. Programs that were participatory and used digital devices were more likely to report management actions, which was consistent with cases in Ethiopia, Greenland, and Australia. Programs engaging volunteers were more frequently reported as ongoing, but those involving digital data entry were less often sustained when data collectors were volunteers. For the Vietnamese and Canadian cases, sustainability was undermined by a mismatch in stakeholder objectives. In the Ghanaian case, complex field protocols diminished monitoring sustainability. Innovative technologies attract interest, but the foundation of effective participatory adaptive monitoring depends more on collaboratively defined questions, objectives, conceptual models, and monitoring approaches. When this foundation is built through effective partnerships, digital data entry can enable the collection of more data of higher quality. Without this foundation, or when implemented ineffectively or unnecessarily, digital data entry can be an additional expense that distracts from core monitoring objectives and undermines project sustainability. The appropriate role of digital data entry in PM likely depends more on the context in which it is used and less on the technology itself.
Citizen science regarding invasive lionfish in Dutch Caribbean MPAs : Drivers and barriers to participation
Carballo-Cárdenas, Eira C. ; Tobi, Hilde - \ 2016
Ocean & Coastal Management 133 (2016). - ISSN 0964-5691 - p. 114 - 127.
Citizen science - Invasive lionfish - Marine protected areas - Motivations - Participation
Understanding the drivers and barriers to participation in citizen science initiatives for conservation is important if long-term involvement from volunteers is expected. This study investigates the motivations of individuals from five marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Dutch Caribbean to (not) participate in different initiatives around lionfish. Following an interpretive approach, semi-structured interviews with seventy-eight informants were conducted and analyzed using thematic network analysis. Approximately 60% (n = 48) of informants indicated that they had participated in citizen science initiatives at the outset of the invasion. From this group, almost half said that they still participated in some type of data collection, but only a few did so within a citizen science context. Many informants were initially motivated to participate in lionfish detection and response initiatives due to concern for the environment. Personal meanings attached to both the data collection experiences and to the data influenced informants’ motivations to sustain or cease data collection and/or sharing. In time, the view of lionfish as a threat changed for many informants as this species’ recreational and/or commercial value increased. Enabling and constraining factors for data collection and sharing were identified at the personal, interpersonal, organizational and technical levels. Our findings have implications for the design of future citizen science initiatives focused on invasive species.