The World Wide Web provides a wide array of opportunities for citizens to share and publish data of their own observations. As far as biodiversity is concerned, forums and social networks store a big deal of steadily increasing "naturalistic" data. Are these data potentially useful to be part of the rapid growth of the biodiversity big data system? In most cases, biodiversity data obtainable from generic social networks do not have any kind of validation neither by expert amateurs nor professional taxonomists. As a consequence, these data require an expert reconsideration before being used, otherwise they lose any scientific value. On the other hand, in forums specifically dedicated to natural sciences, discussions are managed by moderators, often skilled taxonomists, who help inexperienced users in species identification. These data are potentially useful and ready to be included in biodiversity databases after a quick check. In such a case, the naturalistic forums are important containers of validated data. Unfortunately, these data can only be extracted through textual searches, for the most part. The aim of our contribution was the development of a pilot database of georeferenced data on Lepidoptera based on photographs and information published on two widely known websites: “Natura Mediterraneo Forum” and “Forum Entomologi Italiani”. Both amateur citizens (forum users) and forum moderators are involved. A careful examination of discussions, where amateurs posted their observations, allowed us to assemble an introductory dataset consisting of about 5000 records. Starting from textual sites descriptions and photos, we verified the correctness of the original validation, georeferenced the collecting localities and systematized spatial and temporal data from the photos taxonomically validated by moderators. The dataset was limited to butterflies (Lepidoptera Rhopalocera) and, interestingly, included several species listed in the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). The georeferenced data have then been used to analyze the geographical location of observations, including their associated relevant features (e.g. elevation, protected areas, and land use). Results of this exploratory study confirmed the utility of assembling biodiversity data from the web, particularly for those taxa like butterflies where validation by expert taxonomists via photographic image is affordable. However, this attempt also revealed some limits and bias typically associated to the lack of a sampling design. These data analyses will also represent the starting point to convert naturalistic forums, maintaining their essence, into efficient and captivating platforms of Citizen Science

De Felici, S., Mazzei, P., Dinolfo, T., Gioli, F., Labriola, C., Sbordoni, V., et al. (2017). Naturalistic forums as megastores of Biodiversity data.. In First Italian Citizen Science Conference - Setting path in citizen science: biodiversity, networks, open science and platforms. Rome, November 23rd – 25th, 2017 (pp.49-49). Roma.

Naturalistic forums as megastores of Biodiversity data.

De Felici S.;Sbordoni V.;Cesaroni D.
2017

Abstract

The World Wide Web provides a wide array of opportunities for citizens to share and publish data of their own observations. As far as biodiversity is concerned, forums and social networks store a big deal of steadily increasing "naturalistic" data. Are these data potentially useful to be part of the rapid growth of the biodiversity big data system? In most cases, biodiversity data obtainable from generic social networks do not have any kind of validation neither by expert amateurs nor professional taxonomists. As a consequence, these data require an expert reconsideration before being used, otherwise they lose any scientific value. On the other hand, in forums specifically dedicated to natural sciences, discussions are managed by moderators, often skilled taxonomists, who help inexperienced users in species identification. These data are potentially useful and ready to be included in biodiversity databases after a quick check. In such a case, the naturalistic forums are important containers of validated data. Unfortunately, these data can only be extracted through textual searches, for the most part. The aim of our contribution was the development of a pilot database of georeferenced data on Lepidoptera based on photographs and information published on two widely known websites: “Natura Mediterraneo Forum” and “Forum Entomologi Italiani”. Both amateur citizens (forum users) and forum moderators are involved. A careful examination of discussions, where amateurs posted their observations, allowed us to assemble an introductory dataset consisting of about 5000 records. Starting from textual sites descriptions and photos, we verified the correctness of the original validation, georeferenced the collecting localities and systematized spatial and temporal data from the photos taxonomically validated by moderators. The dataset was limited to butterflies (Lepidoptera Rhopalocera) and, interestingly, included several species listed in the Habitats Directive (92/43/EEC). The georeferenced data have then been used to analyze the geographical location of observations, including their associated relevant features (e.g. elevation, protected areas, and land use). Results of this exploratory study confirmed the utility of assembling biodiversity data from the web, particularly for those taxa like butterflies where validation by expert taxonomists via photographic image is affordable. However, this attempt also revealed some limits and bias typically associated to the lack of a sampling design. These data analyses will also represent the starting point to convert naturalistic forums, maintaining their essence, into efficient and captivating platforms of Citizen Science
First Italian Citizen Science Conference
Roma, Italy
2017
Rilevanza internazionale
contributo
23-nov-2017
Settore BIO/05
English
social networks; Lepidoptera; data validation; georeferenced data
Intervento a convegno
De Felici, S., Mazzei, P., Dinolfo, T., Gioli, F., Labriola, C., Sbordoni, V., et al. (2017). Naturalistic forums as megastores of Biodiversity data.. In First Italian Citizen Science Conference - Setting path in citizen science: biodiversity, networks, open science and platforms. Rome, November 23rd – 25th, 2017 (pp.49-49). Roma.
De Felici, S; Mazzei, P; Dinolfo, T; Gioli, F; Labriola, C; Sbordoni, V; Cesaroni, D
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2108/198663
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