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Entomological citizen science in Canada

  • John H. Acorn (a1)


Citizen science involves voluntary participation in the scientific process, typically by gathering data in order to monitor some aspect of the natural world. Entomological citizen science, as an extension of traditional amateur entomology, is an active field in Canada, with online databases such as eButterfly and BugGuide attracting both contributors and database users. As well, traditional amateur entomology continues to be important in Canada, as do short-term insect-themed educational events, the involvement of amateurs in entomological societies, and online crowdsourcing initiatives. Success of citizen science projects can be measured in many ways. In terms of published papers that analyse trends in citizen science data, Canadian projects have only begun to deliver. More valuable are particular records that improve our knowledge of geographic ranges and phenology. In terms of the endurance of particular projects, and the willingness of volunteers to participate, citizen science entomology in Canada is clearly a success. However, quality control of citizen science data remains an issue for some projects. As well, challenges remain with respect to balancing the goals of researchers, participants, and supporting institutions.

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Subject editor: Héctor Cárcamo



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