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Citizen science and biodiversity conservation in South Korea
The preservation and restoration of habitats and ecological connectivity inside cities is crucial to ensure wildlife can find suitable areas to forage, rest and reproduce, as well as to disperse, thereby allowing metapopulation functioning. In this study, we used data collected by a citizen science program between 2016 and 2018 to determine which families of pollinators were the most frequently observed in Seoul and with which habitats pollinators had the highest affinities. Using species distribution modeling and landscape graph approaches, we located the main habitats and corridors to reinforce connectivity for six pollinator families. Finally, we identified habitats and corridors where conservation actions should be prioritized. In total, 178 species belonging to 128 genera and 60 families were observed. Hymenopterans were the most recorded, followed by dipterans and lepidopterans. The most suitable habitats for pollinators were constituted of public parks, university campuses, and Cultural Heritage sites. In a dense city like Seoul, most of the conservation corridors are located in built-up areas. Innovative urban planning and architecture are therefore required as well as the setting-up of ecological management practices to lead to a more sustainable urbanism for pollinators and wildlife in general.
Despite the importance of clearly assessing the distribution boundaries of species, it is not possible for scientists to acquire genetic information and conduct molecular analysis for all populations. Consequently, citizen science is of increasing importance for large scale data collection. In this study, we described the range boundaries of the four Hynobius species occurring in Korea based on genetic identification and refined their distribution through citizen science data. The genetic identification of individuals was extracted from the literature, while the citizen science data were extracted from iNaturalist through GBIF. Distribution boundary lines were drawn from the genetic data and consistency with citizen science datapoints was assessed through a comparative analysis with the points found beyond the established boundary lines. Depending on the species, 1.43 to 25.00 % of the observations extracted from the citizen science data were located beyond the boundaries suggested by the molecular analyses, with average distances ranging from 3.51 ± 2.97 to 51.47 ± 30.87 km (mean ± SD). We considered these variations negligible in the view of the whole distribution of these species. In general, the distributions extracted from iNaturalist were accurate and adequately representative of the distribution of the species, with the exception of the recently split H. quelpaertensis. Additionally, citizen science data highlighted the absence of gaps in the distribution of these species. In conclusion, given the good accuracy of citizen science data, we recommend the publication of molecular based data so that citizen science platforms could help define accurately the range of species for which data is missing or outdated.
Citizen science has become a mainstream approach for collecting data on biodiversity. However, not all biodiversity monitoring programs achieve the goal of collecting datasets that can be used in robust scientific inquiries. Data quality and the capacity to engage participants in the long-term are the most challenging issues. We compared two methodologies of citizen science programs dedicated to pollinators monitoring in France (Spipoll) and South Korea (K-Spipoll). These programs aimed to launch long-term monitoring at a community-level to better understand environmental effects on the composition and stability of pollinator communities. We assessed, through different metrics, how the two approaches influenced (1) data quality (assessed by “Accuracy in data collection,” “Consistency in protocol relative to volume of sessions contributed by an individual,” “Spatial representation of data,” and “Sample size”), and (2) participant engagement (assessed by “the number of connected days,” “the number of active days,” “the proportion of participant contributing a single session,” “the average number of sessions per participant,” and “the distribution of numbers of contributions per participant in each program.”). On one hand, participants in the Spipoll program abided by the standard protocol more often and provided identification for the photographed insects, leading to efficient ecological analyses. On the other hand, the K-Spipoll program provided more sessions per participant and a lower rate of single participation, with a full session demanding less effort in terms of data input, providing critical data where baseline data have otherwise been unavailable. These differences have emerged through methodology choices: For the Spipoll, the dedicated website favored the emergence of a social network that facilitated identification and increased data quality; for the K-Spipoll, the development of a cell phone application facilitated participation, and regular on-field education sessions motivated participants. We conclude by providing suggestions for the implementations of future citizen science programs to improve both data quality and participant engagement.
Road-kills negatively impact wildlife populations, especially those that are threatened or small in size. The increase of linear structures such as roads or railways causes road-kills. Understanding and knowing where and when road-kill probability is high is important to prevent collisions. The leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis euptilrura) is listed on CITES Appendix Ⅱ and is considered as endangered in the Republic of Korea. We used 141 P. b. euptilura road-kill events occurring from 2006 to 2012 in the Republic of Korea with the same number of randomly generated points for spatial analyses. Further, 239 events were used for temporal analyses. Spatial analyses and graph modeling were conducted using geographic information system (GIS) and Graphab software. In landscape analyses, P. b. euptilura road-kills were concentrated around agricultural lands and forest, and less frequent near developed areas. The result of the traffic patterns analyses showed that traffic volume, the number of lanes, and distance from ramps were significantly different between the road-kill points and the random points. The road-kill frequency was significantly different by season, and there were two peaks in winter and fall reflecting the seasonal behavior of P. b. euptilura. Among the 14 candidate models, the best model with the lowest Akaike’s Information Criterion (AIC) included five factors: traffic volume, distance from ramps, elevation, patch connectivity index, and distance from water. This study shows that P. b. euptilura road-kills are not randomly distributed, but rather are related to adjacent landscape, traffic patterns, and season. This study can contribute to minimizing future collisions and lead to conservation of the endangered populations through application to road-kill management policy.
Programs and their scientific objectives • Data quality and participant's engagement: assessement and comparision • Discussion and recommendations for future projects SUMMARY • Programs and their scientific objectives
The development of citizen science programs is quite new in Korea. However, there is a lack of long-term monitoring data about ordinary biodiversity that these programs could fill. After having presented the different exiting programs about pollinators, cicadas, birds and treefrogs, we will present some feedbacks and research results these data did allow us to do. The way these programs could be improved in order to address the different stakes of citizen science program (long-term monitoring, construction of quality and monitoring index, education and awareness) will also be discussed.