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|van der Spuy, Richard||1033|
|Blackshaw, Jessie Margaret||465|
|Van Rooyen, Johan Albertus and Estellle||173|
|2014-03-12||van der Spuy, Richard|
|2014-03-11||van der Spuy, Richard|
|2014-03-10||van der Spuy, Richard|
|2014-03-03||van der Spuy, Richard|
|2014-03-02||van der Spuy, Richard|
|2014-03-01||van der Spuy, Richard|
|2014-03-07||Goetsch, Bruce Allan|
|2014-02-28||van der Spuy, Richard|
|2014-03-04||van der Spuy, Richard|
Ultimately, the goal of all the data collection by the ADU’s citizen scientists is to have an impact on biodiversity conservation. The wealth of data and information contributed by our citizen scientists, collated and curated at the ADU, and analysed by our students and staff and by many other people, has improved biodiversity conservation in southern Africa. Together we are making a difference!
Citizen Science Week celebrates the participation and involvement of citizen scientists in building our digital biodiversity databases, totalling some 18 million records. The objective of our "Citizen Science Week" is to give all citizen scientists a chance to become a community with the objective of collecting and submitting as much biodiversity data in digital format as we are able during the week. Citizen Science Week runs from Saturday 8 March to Sunday 16 March, so it includes two weekends.
We want to involve as many of our existing citizen scientists as possible. We want to recruit new people to our citizen science team. We want to collect as much biodiversity data as possible: so we will try to count the total number of records entering the various databases, and try to determine the total number of different species we record. We want to encourage Team Citizen Science.
We would be delighted if our citizen scientists participated in more than one project, and especially if they participated in one they had not been involved in before. So we want our bird atlasers to participate in LepiMAP, The Atlas of African Lepidoptera, our bird ringers to take pictures of weavers' nests for PHOWN, PHOtos of Weaver Nests, and our CAR counters to give bird atlasing a try, etc. We particularly want to grow awareness and participation in the growing family of virtual museums: see vmus.adu.org.za.
This is also a great opportunity to try to expand the citizen science team. The best way to do this is to invite someone new to join you atlasing, ringing, counting, virtual museuming. And to show them the project protocols – for example, exactly how to go about bird atlasing.
These celebrations honour you, the citizen scientist. Thank you for your on-going support from all of us at the ADU.
The end of February brings the curtain down on a mini-project that has been beavering away in the background. SummerMAP. During December, January and February we have quietly been accumulating the coverage displayed on this map. Do we have enough data to be able to make a statement about the distribution of species in the summer of 2013/14? There are certainly some areas, especially Gauteng, Kruger National Park and coastal KwaZulu-Natal, where we have extensive coverage. The analysts will have to tell us whether what we have achieved is good enough! Whatever they say, the coverage is remarkable; 2002 pentads visited, 3945 checklists submitted so far, nearly a quarter of a million records collected. From the start of the project in July 2007, it took until August 2008 to get coverage of the first 2000 pentads. Now we achieve in three months what took us 14 months at the start of SABAP2.
From March to May our miniproject is AutumnMAP. This represents our one and only opportunity to document the timing of departure of migrants on northward migration. One of the predictions of global climate change is that long-distance bird migrants will be impacted. SABAP2 is one of the best projects anywhere in the world to test these predictions. There are two reasons why we are in such a good position: (1) unlike most bird atlas projects, we collect data throughout the year, including the migration seasons; (2) we have the data collected during SABAP1 for comparison purposes. First analyses show that we are collecting sufficient data each year. We encourage atlasers to tackle all their pentads, several times, if possible, during the next three months. And to tackle them as if this was the start of the project!
From next Saturday 8 March to the following Sunday 16 March we celebrate “Citizen Science Week.” The dates are chosen to coincide with “Open Education Week.” This is a global event, see www.openeducationweek.org. The ADU is delighted to be able to make “Citizen Science Week” a component event of UCT’s Open Education Week. “Open Education” is primarily about “Sharing knowledge, insights and information with others, upon which new knowledge, skills, ideas and understanding can be built − sharing is probably the most basic characteristic of education − Open Education seeks to scale up educational opportunities by taking advantage of the power of the internet, allowing rapid and essentially free dissemination, and enabling people around the world to access knowledge, connect and collaborate.” In real tangible ways, the ADU’s projects achieve precisely the goals of “Open Education.” We have never set out to make “Open Education” a primary goal of what we do, it is a delightful by-product.
The ADU Virtual Museum has had a brilliant start to the year. In January and February 8104 records were submitted, compared with 3937 in these two months last year. There is a great visual report on Virtual Museum progress in 2013 2013 Progress. And there are instructions on how to do submissions at How to submit.
In the first half of February, SABAP2 has maintained the momentous momentum of January, of 56 checklists per day on average. On 14 February last year, 1565 checklists from 1005 pentads had been submitted for SABAP2013. For SABAP2014, we have 1836 checklists from 1117 pentads. The map shows coverage so far! It is early stage of the year, but it is really impressive. So Team SABAP2 for 2014 is a delightfully long way ahead of where we were a year ago.
There are three areas of special focus for 2014. There is the traditional focus on the Four Degrees centred on Gauteng. Coverage reached 25% on 10 February. By mid-February, overall coverage reached 159 pentads visited, 27.6%. The comparable value last year was 151 pentads, 26.2% − so we are not that far ahead of last year for coverage. But in terms of total number of checklists it is chalk and cheese; this year, 441, and last year 333 checklists. Remember there are two targets for the region; trying to visit every pentad at least once (last year we visited 554 or the 576 pentads) and an average of six checklists per pentad, 3456 in total. 441 checklists so far is keeping just us ahead of the curve; we need to average 9.5 checklists per day, we are doing 9.8.
The Four Degree region is important because about 30% of South Africa’s population lives here and we need to monitor the impact of development. The next region is important because it contains South Africa’s largest protected area, the Kruger National Park. We need to monitor intensively here because we hope that there will be little change to bird species composition through time. If there are changes, then it is due to causes other than “development.” So for 2014, we have gently initiated the Greater Kruger National Park Challenge. The underpinning paradigm is the same as for the Four Degrees region. We aim to go as wide as we can (i.e. to get full protocol checklists from as many pentads as possible) and we aim to go as high as we can (i.e. to build the stack of checklists on each pentad as high as possible).
The region for the Greater Kruger National Park Challenge includes every pentad east of 31°E and every pentad north of 26°S (and inside the South African border with Mozambique). This includes quite a lot of territory outside the park, but this is important because it enables “inside-outside” comparisons to be made. There are a total of 671 pentads in the region, so it is not a lot bigger than the 576 pentads of the Four Degrees region. Last year, atlasers visited 326 pentads out of the 671 (48%) and accumulated a total of 1154 checklists. So for 2014, a realistic target is to visit 350 pentads, and to make 1250 checklists.
By the middle of February (on the 14th), 135 pentads had already been visited, and 194 checklists had been made. The first is 39% of the target, and the second is 16% of the target. At this stage of the year we ought to be at 12.4% of target, so we are making stunning progress with the Greater Kruger National Park Challenge.
And finally we have set up a challenge for the Western Cape. This includes most of the Fynbos Biome, a globally important bioregion for which SABAP2 can make a major contribution to doing the monitoring. The Western Cape has 1837 pentads, and 621 of these were visited in 2013, and 2353 checklists submitted. So for 2014, realistic targets are 700 pentads and 2500 checklists. By 14 February, the Western Cape had done 159 pentads and 264 lists, which are 23% and 11% of the target (pro-rata, both figures should exceed 12.4% by now!). So we encourage Team Western Cape to dust off their binoculars, and help ensure that we reach our targets.
Good morning, Team SABAP2. We awake to the news that the bird atlas project has passed an impressive milestone overnight: one hundred thousand full-protocol checklists. Congratulations to everyone who has contributed. Every checklist submitted is valued as part of this milestone.
SABAP2 is the pivotal bird conservation project in the region. The information within the database is crucial for conservation policies for both species and landscapes.