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Explaining Spatial Variation in the Recording Effort of Citizen Science Data across Multiple Taxa

Mair, Louise and Ruete, Alejandro (2016). Explaining Spatial Variation in the Recording Effort of Citizen Science Data across Multiple Taxa. PloS one. 11:1, 1-13
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0147796

Abstract

The collation of citizen science data in open-access biodiversity databases makes temporally and spatially extensive species’ observation data available to a wide range of users. Such data are an invaluable resource but contain inherent limitations, such as sampling bias in favour of recorder distribution, lack of survey effort assessment, and lack of coverage of the distribution of all organisms. Any technical assessment, monitoring program or scientific research applying citizen science data should therefore include an evaluation of the uncertainty of its results. We use ‘ignorance’ scores, i.e. spatially explicit indices of sampling bias across a study region, to further understand spatial patterns of observation behaviour for 13 reference taxonomic groups. The data is based on voluntary observations made in Sweden between 2000 and 2014. We compared the effect of six geographical variables (elevation, steepness, population density, log population density, road density and footpath density) on the ignorance scores of each group. We found substantial variation among taxonomic groups in the relative importance of different geographic variables for explaining ignorance scores. In general, road access and logged population density were consistently important variables explaining bias in sampling effort, indicating that access at a landscape-scale facilitates voluntary reporting by citizen scientists. Also, small increases in population density can produce a substantial reduction in ignorance score. However the between-taxa variation in the importance of geographic variables for explaining ignorance scores demonstrated that different taxa suffer from different spatial biases. We suggest that conservationists and researchers should use ignorance scores to acknowledge uncertainty in their analyses and conclusions, because they may simultaneously include many correlated variables that are difficult to disentangle.

Authors/Creators:Mair, Louise and Ruete, Alejandro
Title:Explaining Spatial Variation in the Recording Effort of Citizen Science Data across Multiple Taxa
Series/Journal:PloS one (1932-6203)
Year of publishing :2016
Volume:11
Number:1
Page range:1-13
Number of Pages:13
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN:1932-6203
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Refereed:Yes
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Bioinformatics and Systems Biology (methods development to be 10203)
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
Agrovoc terms:citizen participation, sampling, biodiversity
Keywords:citizen science data, biodiversity, temporal observations, spatial observations, sampling bias, ignorance scores
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-4100
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-4100
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000369528400045
DOI10.1371/journal.pone.0147796
ID Code:14224
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Swedish Species Information Centre
(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:11 Apr 2017 07:22
Metadata Last Modified:11 Apr 2017 07:22

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