Elementary school children contribute to environmental research as citizen scientists

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


Research benefits increasingly from valuable contributions by citizen scientists. Mostly, participating adults investigate specific species, ecosystems or phenology to address conservation issues, but ecosystem functions supporting ecosystem health are rarely addressed and other demographic groups rarely involved. As part of a project investigating seed predation and dispersal as ecosystem functions along an urban-rural gradient, we tested whether elementary school children can contribute to the project as citizen scientists. Specifically, we compared data estimating vegetation cover, measuring vegetation height and counting seeds from a seed removal experiment, that were collected by children and scientists in schoolyards. Children counted seeds similarly to scientists but under-or overestimated vegetation cover and measured different heights.We conclude that children can be involved as citizen scientists in research projects according to their skill level. However, more sophisticated tasks require specific training to become familiarized with scientific experiments and the development of needed skills and methods.

ZeitschriftPLoS ONE
Anzahl der Seiten10
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 18.11.2015

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Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Miczajka et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.