Introducing a Citizen Science Project: USA-National Phenology Network
Have you ever witnessed red maple in your backyard flush its leaves pretty earlier (or later) than normal, and have wondered, wow, is the species behavior changing for real, due to the climate change?
In accordance with the previous post, “Global Biodiversity Needs Citizen Scientist, says study“, I would like to introduce a perfect citizen science for you to participate.
The USA-National Phenology Network (USA-NPN) serves its role to offer tools and friendly environment for citizens to participate in understanding plant and animal phenology, in relation with environmental change. Short history of USA-NPN could be found here.
Phenology, which is study of timing of seasonal cycling of animal and plant species, has a key regulatory role on global carbon cycling, and nutrient cycling across different trophic level. Monitoring species-level phenology is however almost impossible for scientists to account for large temporal and spatial scales. USA-National Phenology Network focuses on harnessing citizen power to phenology research in order to increase sample number in a continental scale. It also enable citizens to connect their regional interest and knowledge in plant and animal species to a larger scale, by offering analytic tools to visualize their monitoring outcomes in a real-time.
For example, if you are interested in what is the leaf flushing pattern of all the red maple in united states along latitudinal and elevational gradient, in comparison with the one in your backyard, you can simply use their phenology visualization tool!
Check out their series of instruction (6 videos!) on how to use phenology visualization tool:
Check out their video introducing USA-NPN: