Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner
Many people are interested in nature and science and would jump at the opportunity to participate in worthwhile science projects. Writing in PLOSOne
, Pocock and Evans* describe the incorporation of the public in a project to study an invasive species in the UK, the Horse-Chestnut Leaf Miner, Cameraria ohridella.
They created a website where participants could upload photos of leaf damage and submit data. Part of the study was an assessment of parasitism rates that required the public to collect samples and count the insects present in the sample. They received over 2200 records from over 2000 observers. Among the observers were over 1800 school children who participated with the guidance trained volunteers who explained the project.
Validation of the results required some subsampling and correlation of citizen observations with expert opinion. Citizens had a good accuracy rate which helped to make the project a success. Citizen science can be a good way to introduce the public and school children to scientific research on insects.
*Michael J. O. Pocock, Darren M. Evans. 2014 The Success of the Horse-Chestnut Leaf-Miner, Cameraria ohridella, in the UK Revealed with Hypothesis-Led Citizen Science. PLoS One. Published: January 22, 2014