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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Ecology Joins "the crowd"

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Wednesday, March 12, 2014/Categories: natural history, environment

We've all supported the musician wanting to control their latest recording or the aspiring documentarian editing a film with some "crowd-sourced" donations. Ecological based projects are now joining "the crowd" and the results are exciting both for the individual funders and the researchers guiding the new field work.

According to  Notes from Nature , the portal for supporting these important projects:

"People have been collecting specimens from the natural world for centuries - minerals, plants, fungi and animals. Today, there are an estimated two billion specimens housed in natural history museums around the world! These biological collections document where species and populations exist now and where they existed decades and centuries before, so they hold irreplaceable information necessary for uncovering the patterns of changes in species distributions and ecosystem composition over time. Scientists use such data and information in order to address key environmental issues we are facing right now, such as the impacts of climate change and how diseases affect wildlife and humans."

Expanding Ecosystem Knowledge (credit: Notes from Nature)

With massive changes now affecting biological systems everywhere, increasing ecological databases to use in advising management, conservation, and restoration. Ecological field projects are highly appropriate for this sort of "big data" sourcing to properly see trends in the environment. Directly involving individuals in data collection, digitization, and analysis to add and expand the current knowledge is both exciting and essential.

The power of "the crowd" will be music to the ears of researchers all over the world. So support a field project, put on your boots, and start taking some notes to help out. It might change your life!


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