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Using Wikipedia page views to explore the cultural importance of global reptiles

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Abstract

Modern conservation operates at the nexus of biological and social influences. While the importance of social and cultural factors is often mentioned, defining, measuring and comparing these factors remains a significant challenge. Here, we explore a novel method to quantify cultural interest in all extant reptile species using Wikipedia — a large, open-access online encyclopaedia. We analysed all page views of reptile species viewed during 2014 in all of Wikipedia's language editions. We compared species' page view numbers across languages and in relationship to their spatial distribution, phylogeny, threat status and various other biological attributes. We found that the three species with most page views are shared across major language editions, beyond these, page view ranks of species tend to be specific to particular language editions. Interest within a language is mostly focused on reptiles found in the regions where the language is spoken. Overall, interest is greater for reptiles that are venomous, endangered, widely distributed, larger and that have been described earlier. However, within individual reptile families not all the above factors predict page views. Most families contain at least one species in the top 5% of page views, but 29 families (with 1,450 species) have no ‘high interest species’ in them. Overall, our analyses elucidate novel patterns of human interests in nature over large geographical, cultural and taxonomic spectra using big-data techniques. Such approaches hold much promise for incorporating social perceptions in future conservation practices.

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... Multiple studies have assessed these dynamics over long periods (e.g., Funk & Rusowsky 2014;Proulx et al. 2014;Mittermeier et al. 2019;Troumbis 2019) or in response to specific events such as conservation interventions, news, movies, and nature documentaries (e.g., Papworth et al. 2015;Soriano-Redondo et al. 2017;Fernández-Bellon & Kane 2020;Veríssimo et al. 2020). Other common applications of culturomics to conservation include identifying culturally salient species and sites (e.g., Roll et al. 2016;Correia et al. 2018b;Ladle et al. 2019) and investigating preferences for naturebased recreation (e.g., Hausmann et al. 2018;Monkman et al. 2018b;Sbragaglia et al. 2019). There are also a number of other topics in which the use of culturomics approaches for conservation is now developing rapidly, including biological invasions (e.g., Fukano & Soga 2019;Jarić et al. 2021), illegal wildlife trade (Hinsley et al. 2016;Di Minin et al. 2018;Di Minin et al. 2019), and humanwildlife conflict (Miranda et al. 2016). ...
... Data from digital encyclopedias can be used to explore various conservation issues, including the popularity of threatened species (Roll et al. 2016), the effect of nature documentaries on public interest toward featured species (Fernández-Bellon & Kane 2020), and seasonal dynamics of public interest in nature (Mittermeier et al. 2019;Vardi et al. 2021). ...
... Regression-analysis methods, from generalized linear models to machine learning models (Ciaburro 2018), can help researchers make inferences on how culturomics metrics relate to other variables of interest, which usually include biological, social, cultural, and geographical factors. These methods can be used to identify traits driving species popularity in the public eye (e.g., Roll et al. 2016;Ladle et al. 2019;Vardi et al. 2021) or landscape factors associated with public preferences for protected areas (e.g., Hausmann et al. 2017;Correia et al. 2018b). ...
Article
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Ongoing loss of biological diversity is primarily the result of unsustainable human behavior. Thus, the long-term success of biodiversity conservation depends on a thorough understanding of human-nature interactions. Such interactions are ubiquitous but vary greatly in time and space and are difficult to monitor efficiently at large spatial scales. However, the Information Age also provides new opportunities to better understand human-nature interactions because many aspects of daily life are recorded in a variety of digital formats. The emerging field of conservation culturomics aims to take advantage of digital data sources and methods to study human-nature interactions and thus to provide new tools for studying conservation at relevant temporal and spatial scales. Nevertheless, technical challenges associated with the identification, access, and analysis of relevant data hamper the wider adoption of culturomics methods. To help overcome these barriers, we propose a conservation culturomics research framework that addresses data acquisition, analysis, and inherent biases. The main sources of culturomic data include web pages, social media, and other digital platforms from which metrics of content and engagement can be obtained. Obtaining raw data from these platforms is usually desirable but requires careful consideration of how to access, store, and prepare the data for analysis. Methods for data analysis include network * email rahc85@gmail.com Article impact statement: Guidelines for overcoming challenges associated with digital data collection and analysis can advance conservation culturomics applications. 2 Digital Data Sources and Methods approaches to explore connections between topics, time-series analysis for temporal data, and spatial model-ing to highlight spatial patterns. Outstanding challenges associated with culturomics research include issues of interdisciplinarity, ethics, data biases, and validation. The practical guidance we offer will help conservation researchers and practitioners identify and obtain the necessary data and carry out appropriate analyses for their specific questions, thus facilitating the wider adoption of culturomics approaches for conservation applications.work Fuentes de Información Digital y Métodos para la Culturomia de la Conservación Resumen: La continua pérdida de biodiversidad es el resultado principal del comportamiento humano in-sostenible. Por esto, el éxito a largo plazo de la conservación de la biodiversidad depende de una comprensión exhaustiva de las interacciones humano-naturaleza. Dichas interacciones son ubicuas pero varían enormemente en el tiempo y el espacio, lo que dificulta su monitoreo eficiente a escalas espaciales amplias. Sin embargo, la Era de la Información también nos proporciona nuevas oportunidades para comprender de mejor manera las interac-ciones humano-naturaleza pues muchos aspectos de la vida diaria quedan registrados en una variedad de formatos digitales. El campo emergente de la culturomia de la conservación busca aprovechar los recursos y los métodos digitales para estudiar las interacciones humano-naturaleza y así proporcionar nuevas herramientas para el estudio de la conservación a escalas temporales y espaciales relevantes. No obstante, las dificultades técnicas asociadas con la identificación, acceso y análisis de la información relevante obstaculizan la adopción más amplia de los métodos de la culturomia. Para ayudar a superar estas barreras proponemos un marco de trabajo de investigación de culturomia de la conservación que aborde la obtención de datos, el análisis y los sesgos inherentes. Entre las principales fuentes de datos sobre culturomia se incluyen las páginas web, las redes sociales y otras plataformas digitales a partir de las cuales se pueden obtener medidas del contenido y la participación. Normalmente se busca obtener datos crudos a partir de este tipo de plataformas, pero esto requiere que se tengan en consideración las vías de acceso, el almacenaje y la preparación de la información para su posterior análisis. Los métodos para el análisis de datos incluyen analísis de redes para explorar las conexiones entre los temas, el análisis de series de tiempo para los datos temporales y el modelado espacial para resaltar los patrones espaciales. Los desafíos sobresalientes asociados a la investigación en culturomia incluyen temas de interdisciplinariedad, ética, sesgos de datos y validación. La orientación práctica que ofrecemos ayudará a los investigadores y practicantes de la conservación a identificar y obtener los datos necesarios. También les ayudará a realizar análisis apropiados para responder a sus preguntas específicas, facilitando así la adopción más amplia de las estrategias de culturomia para su aplicación en la conservación. Palabras Clave: ciencia guiada por datos, contenido digital, interacciones humano-naturaleza, marco de trabajo de investigación, métodos digitales :
... Conservation culturomics is an emerging research area in which digital data are used to study human-nature interactions, including public interest in nature and conservation . Previous researchers have used conservation culturomic methods to compare public interest in aspects of biodiversity (e.g., Correia et al. 2016;Roll et al. 2016). Although these approaches are promising, methods for conducting culturomic analyses in conservation are still being developed Sutherland et al. 2018;Correia et al 2019;Toivonen et al. 2019). ...
... Wikipedia is the subject of a growing body of existing research that explores its content (Messner & DiStaso 2013;Samoilenko & Yasseri 2014), contributor demographics (Wilson 2014), and user dynamics (Yasseri et al. 2012. Previous researchers have used Wikipedia to quantitatively compare the fame and cultural impact of individual people (Skiena & Ward 2014;Yu et al. 2016) and established a precedent that Wikipedia data can be used to measure aspects of public interest in conservation (Roll et 2016;Mittermeier et al. 2019). ...
... Although certain entities attract widespread global attention, people are often more interested in local issues and entities (e.g., Correia et al. 2016). In Wikipedia, this is true for historical figures (Yu et al. 2016) and certain aspects of biodiversity (Roll et al. 2016). As a result, metrics that do not weight for geographic distribution will emphasize entities that co-occur with the distribution of Wikipedia languages. ...
Article
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The recent growth of online big data offers opportunities for rapid and inexpensive measurement of public interest. Conservation culturomics is an emerging research area that uses online data to study human-nature relationships for conservation. Methods for conservation culturomics, though promising, are still being developed and refined. We considered the potential of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, as a resource for conservation culturomics and outlined methods for using Wikipedia data in conservation. Wikipedia's large size, widespread use, underlying data structure, and open access to both its content and usage analytics make it well suited to conservation culturomics research. Limitations of Wikipedia data include the lack of location information associated with some metadata and limited information on the motivations of many users. Seven methodological steps to consider when using Wikipedia data in conservation include metadata selection, temporality, taxonomy, language representation, Wikipedia geography, physical and biological geography, and comparative metrics. Each of these methodological decisions can affect measures of online interest. As a case study, we explored these themes by analyzing 757 million Wikipedia page views associated with the Wikipedia pages for 10,099 species of birds across 251 Wikipedia language editions. We found that Wikipedia data have the potential to generate insight for conservation and are particularly useful for quantifying patterns of public interest at large scales.
... The likelihood of being discovered and described early is not equal among species (Gaston et al., 1995;Collen et al., 2004;Costello et al., 2015). Species with larger body size and broader geographic ranges were usually described earlier (Collen et al., 2004;Diniz-Filho et al., 2005;Meiri, 2016). Although we have advanced on our understanding of factors correlated with species description dates (Blackburn & Gaston, 1995;Costello et al., 2015;Meiri, 2016), the processes leading to the recognition and description of new taxa after their collection in nature are poorly understood (Bebber et al., 2010;Fontaine et al., 2012). ...
... Species with larger body size and broader geographic ranges were usually described earlier (Collen et al., 2004;Diniz-Filho et al., 2005;Meiri, 2016). Although we have advanced on our understanding of factors correlated with species description dates (Blackburn & Gaston, 1995;Costello et al., 2015;Meiri, 2016), the processes leading to the recognition and description of new taxa after their collection in nature are poorly understood (Bebber et al., 2010;Fontaine et al., 2012). After collection, specimens are usually housed in scientific collections and some of them become type specimensa unique set of specimens to which the scientific name of a new taxa is formally attached. ...
... Considering that several scientific collections have not been digitized and incorporated into GBIF (Yesson et al., 2007), actual numbers of unidentified reptile specimens are thus likely to be much higher. Given the high rate of reptile discoveries over the past decades (Uetz, 2010;Meiri, 2016), it is likely that many of those preserved specimens actually represent undescribed species. ...
Article
Most species remain unknown to science and might go extinct before we recognize their existence. Although specimens belonging to many of these unknown taxa may already be housed in scientific collections, they can remain 'shelved' for years bearing the wrong name or without a formal name. We investigate factors underlying variation in time lag between collection and description dates for 2356 reptile species described worldwide between 1992 and 2017. We modelled the time to description using biological and sociological variables in a time-to-event analysis. Time lag between collection and description varied from zero to 155 years (median = 5). More than one-quarter of species involved specimens 'shelved' for 12 years or more. The time lag was shorter when the collector of the holotype-specimen serving as the name-bearer of the species-was an author of the description, while taxonomic revisions uncovered species with longer time lags. Unknown species collected by non-taxonomists and 'shelved' in scientific collections remained incorrectly identified for a much longer time. Taxonomic revisions are crucial to reverse this trend and improve benefits of the collecting performed by non-taxonomists. Our findings reveal the kinds of preserved reptile specimens that most likely represent unknown species in scientific collections.
... Along with the gender gap [1][2][3][4], geographical bias has been one of the most researched issues regarding inequalities in the content * Research Fellow at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society coverage of Wikipedia [5][6][7][8][9][10]. Although the distribution of georeferenced information is considerably different according to the language version of the encyclopedia [7,8], studies show a transversal trend towards more content creation related to the United States and Western Europe, as well as a relative lack of information about some regions of Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia [9,10]. ...
... Along with the gender gap [1][2][3][4], geographical bias has been one of the most researched issues regarding inequalities in the content * Research Fellow at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society coverage of Wikipedia [5][6][7][8][9][10]. Although the distribution of georeferenced information is considerably different according to the language version of the encyclopedia [7,8], studies show a transversal trend towards more content creation related to the United States and Western Europe, as well as a relative lack of information about some regions of Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia [9,10]. This trend is pretty widespread, and can be found both in the spatial distribution of the total number of geo-tagged articles [5], and in the distribution of subgroups of articles. ...
... This trend is pretty widespread, and can be found both in the spatial distribution of the total number of geo-tagged articles [5], and in the distribution of subgroups of articles. For example, it can be seen in the storage of biographies of recognized persons -using their place of birth as a spatial approximation [11], in the coverage of relevant historical events -such as battles or wars-, and in the documentation of animals with established territorial origin -as is the case of reptiles [7]-. In short, today we know that Wikipedia tends to develop more information about people, animals, objects and events linked to the Global North and the traditional Western powers. ...
Conference Paper
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This article proposes that an appropriate assessment of the geographical bias in multilingual Wikipedia's content should consider not only the number of articles linked to places but also their internal positioning - i.e. their location in different languages and their centrality in the network of references between articles. This idea is studied empirically, systematically evaluating the geographic concentration in the biographical coverage of globally recognized individuals (those whose biographies are found in more than 25 language versions of Wikipedia). Considering the internal positioning levels of these biographies, only 5 countries account for more than 62% of Wikipedia's biographical coverage. In turn, the inequality in coverage between countries reaches very high levels, estimated with a Gini coefficient of .84 and a Palma ratio of 207. In all the tests carried out, the inclusion of the linguistic and/or relational positioning of the articles increases the estimate of inequality in biographical coverage. This suggests that previous estimates of geographical bias, which do not consider differences in internal positioning, have underestimated the degree of inequality in the distribution of information.
... Access frequency of social media content and internet keyword search volume, as direct measures of information-seeking behavior, are gaining attention as indicators of public interest Fernández-Bellon & Kane, 2019;Fukano, Tanaka, & Soga, 2020;Guedes-santos, Correia, Jepson, & Ladle, 2021;Kang, Zhong, He, Rutherford, & Yang, 2013;Mittermeier, Roll, Matthews, & Grenyer, 2019;Roll et al., 2016), owing to their immediacy, retrospectivity, low cost of acquisition (Jarić et al., 2020;Ladle et al., 2016), and empirically verified connection between information-seeking behavior and public interest in various fields (Kim, Sin, & Tsai, 2014;Silva, Hassani, Madsen, & Gee, 2019;Zhang et al., 2017). However, the link between public interest in and conservation orientation for a species has not yet been assessed explicitly. ...
... Here, we assessed the feasibility of using information-seeking behavior to predict public conservation orientation toward species in different taxonomic groups. We used Wikipedia pageviews as a measure of public interest in a species because: (i) it is currently the most-visited online encyclopedia (as of 2019, 20 billion mean pageviews per month); (ii) it is multilingual and multicultural (approximately 300 languages); (iii) it is open access; and (iv) it provides access frequency data for each page (Mittermeier, Correia, Grenyer, Toivonen, & Roll, 2021;Roll et al., 2016). We addressed the following three questions: (1) Is public conservation orientation toward a species associated with Wikipedia pageviews of the species? ...
... With the continuing expansion of internet infrastructure (Statista, 2020), access frequency in social media and search volume are becoming popular indicators of public interest (Fernández-Bellon & Kane, 2019; Fukano et al., 2020;Millard, Gregory, Jones, & Freeman, 2021;Mittermeier, Roll, Matthews, et al., 2021;Mittermeier et al., 2019;Roll et al., 2016). Our results indicate that public interest in a species, as indicated by internet use data, aligns with public conservation orientation toward that species for some taxonomic groups, but not others. ...
Article
Public conservation support for a species can powerfully influence the success of conservation policies and actions. To maximize the effectiveness of the limited resources available for conservation, it would be beneficial to develop a way to predict the degree of public conservation orientation. Here, we explore the utility of the frequency of accessing web content featuring particular species, a direct measure of information-seeking behavior, to predict public conservation orientation. Specifically, we tested whether pageviews of Wikipedia content featuring 100 threatened species in five taxonomic groups (mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, insects, and plants) is associated with public conservation orientation toward these species in Japan. Wikipedia pageviews predicted public conservation orientation for species conservation for the two most salient taxonomic groups (mammals and birds). This relationship, however, was not evident for the other three taxa. The relationship between Wikipedia pageviews and conservation orientation was influenced by respondent age and gender. We employed the national red list category of the species as a covariate, but it was not associated with public orientation for species conservation in any of the five taxonomic groups. Overall, information-seeking behavior could be used as a proxy for public conservation orientation for mammals and birds, but should be interpreted with caution.
... The fixed predictors explained 23% of the variance of the model and the random intercept study ID explained 20% of the variance, i.e., the marginal R 2 was 0.23 and the conditional R 2 was 0.43. We found strong support (ΔAIC c > 2 for all other models) for the most parsimonious LMs with lowest AIC c for seven of the nine studies (Brambilla et al., 2013;Roberge, 2014;Macdonald et al., 2015;Willemen et al., 2015;Roll et al., 2016;Garnett et al., 2018;Monsarrat and Kerley, 2018), with an average adjusted R 2 = 0.45 (minimum = 0.28, maximum = 0.77; Table A.2). In these seven studies, body size was a significant predictor of charisma (p < 0.05, Fig. 2); specifically, species charisma was negatively related with body size for the dataset from Garnett et al. (2018), while charisma and body size were positively related in the other six studies (Fig. 2). ...
... In these studies, body size was not significantly correlated with charisma (p ≥ 0.05, Fig. 2). In terms of other variables, IUCN status was a significant predictor (p < 0.05) for Macdonald et al. (2015), Willemen et al. (2015), Roll et al. (2016), and Garnett et al. (2018), while vertebrate class was a significant predictor (p < 0.05) for Willemen et al. (2015). ...
... The scaling relationship is evident for several studies with different definitions and methods used to measure charisma. These findings add to existing evidence suggesting that body size strongly influences people's perception of species (Ward et al., 1998;Johnson et al., 2010;Roll et al., 2016). Notably, we found that the positive relationship between body size and animal charisma is consistent at broad geographic scale and for large sets of species from different taxonomic groups. ...
Article
The charisma of species, i.e., their popularity among people, influences how much we are willing to invest in seeing, studying, and protecting them. Previous studies have investigated the drivers of animal charisma, but because collection of species popularity data is costly in terms of time and resources, these are often restricted to a small number of species, making it difficult to generalize results at a scale useful for macroecological studies. Here, we test the hypothesis that animal charisma scales with species body size using nine open-access datasets on animal charisma for 13,680 species from four vertebrate classes: amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles. We performed linear mixed models using all studies taken together and, in supplement, linear models on each study separately. We found that animal charisma scales positively with species body size across different vertebrate classes, geographic areas, and charisma estimation methodologies. This general scaling relationship between body size and animal charisma supports large-bodied species to have disproportionate importance for conservation due to their high appeal on people. These findings suggest that body size can be used as a proxy for the charisma of species at broad spatial scales and for large numbers of species, as an alternative to more resource-intensive surveys.
... Identifying the biological and ecological traits of species that correlate with increased public interest can benefit conservation marketing and be used to identify potential flagship species (Smith, Veríssimo, Isaac, & Jones, 2012;Verissimo et al., 2013). Previous studies have evaluated the role of biological traits such as coloration (Lišková & Frynta, 2013), venomousness (Roll et al., 2016), and the perceived attractiveness of species (Gunnthorsdottir, 2001) in determining public interest. While a variety of traits have been recognized as correlating with increased interest, large body size is frequently identified as the most important (Berti, Monsarrat, Munk, Jarvie, & Svenning, 2020;Clucas, McHugh, & Caro, 2008;Macdonald et al., 2015). ...
... Conservation culturomics is a new research area that uses online digital data to investigate questions around human-nature interactions that are relevant to conservation . Previous studies have used conservation culturomic methods to assess people's interest in reptiles (Roll et al., 2016) and Brazilian birds , and to compare seasonal patterns in biodiversity awareness (Mittermeier, Roll, Matthews, & Grenyer, 2019). Here we used these methods to assess the relationship between online interest, body size and the frequency with which people have direct encounters species in the wild. ...
... We used the number of pageviews that a page receives in Wikipedia as a measure of online interest (e.g., Mittermeier et al., 2019;Roll et al., 2016). Wikipedia does not include geographic information with its pageviews, but Wikipedia editions are constructed in different languages and summary data are available that list the proportion of pageviews each language edition receives by country (Zachte, 2020). ...
Article
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Large body size, the defining characteristic of “charismatic megafauna,” is often viewed as the most significant correlate of higher public interest in species. However, common, local species (many of which are not large) can also generate public interest. We explored the relative importance of body size versus local occurrence in patterns of online interest in birds using a large sample of digital human‐wildlife interactions (367 million Wikipedia pageviews) that included more than 10,000 bird species and a range of cultural and geographic contexts (represented by 25 Wikipedia language editions). We compared interest in Wikipedia, as measured by pageviews, with a bird's body size and its regional observation frequency (using data from eBird.org). We found that local species (i.e., those that occur in the wild in the country responsible for the majority of a Wikipedia language edition's pageviews) attract more pageviews than global species. Both body size and observation frequency had a positive correlation with Wikipedia pageviews across languages, but eBird observation frequency explained more of the variance in pageviews on average. In a model that included both observation frequency and body size, observation frequency was a significantly better predictor of pageviews than body size in 24 of 25 languages. Our results demonstrate that the opportunity to encounter birds in the wild is a significant correlate of increased online interest in birds across multiple linguistic and geographic contexts. This relationship provides insight into why some species attract greater interest than others and emphasizes the overlooked potential of common species in conservation marketing.
... For example, some studies have attempted to understand how we can use data about social interactions on the Internet to analyze trends and patterns in conservation (Arts et al., 2015). Other studies have used data from web platforms such as Flickr (Tenkanen et al., 2017), Google Trends (Nghiem et al., 2016;Proulx et al., 2014;Soriano-Redondo et al., 2017), Google Search , Wikipedia (Mittermeier et al., 2019;Roll et al., 2016) and Twitter (Hausmann et al., 2019). ...
... In addition, Wikipedia is among the five most popular domains of the global internet (Meta, 2018) and the twenty of the Brazilian internet (Alexa -Top Sites in Brazil -Alexa, 2021). Wikipedia is a particularly rich source of information on human interest in the natural world, given that it provides open and free content in 300 languages (Halavais & Lackaff, 2008;Mesgari et al., 2015;Messner & DiStaso, 2013;Tsvetkova et al., 2016) and has been used to quantify various cultural trends and patterns (Eom et al., 2015;Mittermeier et al., 2019;Roll et al., 2016). At the time of publishing (May 2021), Wikipedia has more than 6.2 million articles in English and more than 1 million in Portuguese. ...
... Some PA pages were created after 01/07/2015 (42 pages in Portuguese and 255 in English), meaning these pages had less time to accrue page views than those available since the beginning of the sampling period. Unlike Roll et al. (2016) and Mittermeier et al. (2019), we used the daily average of page views to deal with potential effects caused by pages created after the start date (July 2015) in our database. The correlation between PA page views in the Portuguese and English editions of Wikipedia was calculated using the Spearman correlation score. ...
Article
Protected Areas (PAs) are the cornerstone of global conservation action and the most effective strategy for conserving the Earth’s biodiversity. Nevertheless, there is evidence that PAs are increasingly viewed by politicians and policy-makers as opportunity costs that constrain economic development. In the absence of societal resistance (‘push-back’) in the form of campaigns and/or lobbying, such attitudes leave many PAs vulnerable to downgrading, downsizing or degazettement (PADDD). The potential to mobilize public support for any given PA is difficult to directly measure, but is likely to be strongly correlated with contemporary levels of public interest and awareness. Here, we use Wikipedia page views (PVs) as a novel digital metric of public interest in PAs and demonstrate its utility through an analysis of Brazilian PAs. Because Brazil accounts for the vast majority of the World’s Portuguese speakers, we were able to generate separate metrics for national (PVs of Portuguese editions) and international (PVs of English editions) interest. We found that both national and international public interest is highest for larger, older PAs, especially National Parks. These results possibly reflect a historical bias towards designating the most iconic areas in the country first, with less scenic and more contested areas designated more recently. We also found that many PAs do not have a Wikipedia page, and many of those that do are rarely viewed by the public. The apparent low level of interest in these parks leaves them particularly vulnerable to development threats and, in our opinion, needs to be urgently addressed.
... The analysis of large online culturomic data sets has been used to explore people's awareness, interest, and sentiment toward nature (Correia et al. 2021a [this issue]). For example, researchers have examined human interactions with individual species (Ladle et al. 2016), large taxonomic groups (Roll et al. 2016), national parks (Do 2019), and conservation initiatives (Soriano-Redondo et al. 2017) from local to global scales. The wealth and span of culturomics data holds much promise to expand such explorations (Correia et al. 2021b [this issue]). ...
... Google and Wikipedia have been explored in many conservation culturomic studies (e.g., Roll et al. 2016;Soriano-Redondo et al. 2017;Mittermeier et al. 2019;Troumbis 2019). Our comparative analyses of these 2 corpora showed that although some trends were shared across these sources, others differed greatly. ...
... For example, red-listed and endemic species were more popular and had greater interest seasonality. This could be a good sign for conservation, indicating that people are interested in what is (locally) rare and endangered (Roll et al. 2016). Nevertheless, while protected species had greater online seasonality, they were not more popular. ...
Article
Culturomic tools enable the exploration of trends in human-nature interactions, although they entail inherent biases and necessitate careful validation. Furthermore, people may engage with nature across different culturomic data sets differently. We evaluated people's digital interest and engagement with plant species based on Wikipedia and Google data and explored the conservation implications of these temporal interest patterns. As a case study, we explored the digital footprints of the most popular plant species in Israel. We analyzed 4 years of daily page views from Hebrew Wikipedia and 10 years of daily Google search volume in Israel. We modeled popularity of plant species in these 2 data sets based on a suite of plant attributes. We further explored the seasonal trends of people's interest in each species. We found differences in how people interacted digitally with plants in Wikipedia and Google. Overall, in Google, searches for species that have utility to humans were more common, whereas in Wikipedia, plants that serve as cultural emblems received more attention. Furthermore, in Google, popular species attracted more attention over time, opposite to the trend in Wikipedia. In Google, interest in species with short bloom duration exhibited more pronounced seasonal patterns, whereas in Wikipedia, seasonality of interest increased as bloom duration increased. Together, our results suggest that people's digital interactions with nature may be inherently different depending on the sources explored, which may affect use of this information for conservation. Although culturomics holds much promise, better understanding of its underpinnings is important when translating insights into conservation actions.
... The precept from the ever-growing literature on conservation culturomics is that the wealth of online "big"-data, the analysis and use of these digital resources, and computational linguistics and lexicology are or should be harnessed to understand social trends and culture-behavior changes to gain insight into broad-scale patterns of human-nature interactions and perceptions (Di Minin et al., 2015;Correia et al. 2016Correia et al. , 2017Roll et al., 2016;Cooper et al., 2019;Ladle et al., 2019;Mittermeier et al., 2019;Toivonen et al., 2019). Although trends in public interest in conservation issues in general (e.g., Proulx et al., 2013;Troumbis 2017a, b;Burivalova et al., 2018;Legagneux et al., 2018;Correia et al., 2019;Troumbis 2019), through Google Trends-based culturomics form a consistent corpus of research, the whole big data conservation culturomics operation is instead "messy"; as Aiden and Michel (2013, p. 19), the fathers of Culturomics, have noticed a "…typical bigdata dataset is a miscellany of facts and measurements…riddled with errors and marred by numerous, frustrating gaps… missing pieces of information… because big datasets are frequently created by aggregating a vast number of smaller datasets… some more reliable than others and each one subject to its own idiosyncracies…". ...
... The thematic range of challenges is as complex as are the diverse interactions humans have with nature and its conservation (Sutherland et al., 2018). It extends roughly from differences in cultural perceptions of nature (Roll et al., 2016) to nature's effects on human well-being (IPBES Conceptual Framework: Diaz et al., 2015); from seasonal trends of human interest in natural phenomena to longer trends in public interest in conservation issues in general (Proulx et al., 2013;Burivalova et al., 2018;Legagneux et al., 2018;Correia et al., 2019); or, from mismatches between scientific effort(s) and conservation needs (Fisher et al., 2010) to public valuation(s) of biodiversity and landscapes (Roberge 2014;Correia et al. 2016Correia et al. , 2017Davies et al., 2018). ...
Article
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The application of the mass-energy-information equivalence principle developed after the experimentally demonstrated Landauer's principle on thermodynamics, entropy, and information is an unexplored but promising path in search of objectivity and compatibility between strict physical and mathematical entities and relative human behavior in biodiversity conservation issues. Conservation culturomics is proposed as the epistemic methodology and programme to trace the evolution in cultural human-nature relationships. Historically, controversies do persist between pro- vs. non- environmental opinions and policies. The proposed combination of physics and culturomics is feasible, although complex, multileveled, and depending on a series of academic, technical, and political prerequisites. In the era of staggering information technologies, Internet use proliferation and cultural relativism, reliable information on conservation knowledge vs. often unfounded story-tellings is a sine qua non for the development of badly needed modern global conservation strategies, targets, and goals.
... Cinderella species have similar physical characteristics to flagships, namely large body size and forward-facing eyes, but are not known to be conservation flagships 3 . For reptiles and birds, we identified candidate species using an approach developed by Roll et al. 47 that quantifies interest in species based on their online popularity, measured via the number of Wikipedia page views for a given year. Popular reptile species were taken from the previous work of Roll et al. 47 . ...
... For reptiles and birds, we identified candidate species using an approach developed by Roll et al. 47 that quantifies interest in species based on their online popularity, measured via the number of Wikipedia page views for a given year. Popular reptile species were taken from the previous work of Roll et al. 47 . Bird species were similarly identified matching the global species taxonomy of the International Ornithological Committee (IOC World Bird List version 7.1) to English language Wikipedia pages and extracting views to each species page for the period between 1 January 2016−1 February 2017 (Mittermeier et al., unpublished). ...
Article
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Conservation strategies based on charismatic flagship species, such as tigers, lions, and elephants, successfully attract funding from individuals and corporate donors. However, critics of this species-focused approach argue it wastes resources and often does not benefit broader biodiversity. If true, then the best way of raising conservation funds excludes the best way of spending it. Here we show that this conundrum can be resolved, and that the flagship species approach does not impede cost-effective conservation. Through a tailored prioritization approach, we identify places containing flagship species while also maximizing global biodiversity representation (based on 19,616 terrestrial and freshwater species). We then compare these results to scenarios that only maximized biodiversity representation, and demonstrate that our flagship-based approach achieves 79−89% of our objective. This provides strong evidence that prudently selected flagships can both raise funds for conservation and help target where these resources are best spent to conserve biodiversity. Conservation actions focused on flagship species are effective at raising funds and awareness. Here, McGowan et al. show that prioritizing areas for conservation based on the presence of flagship species results in the selection of areas with ~ 79-89% of the total species that would be selected by maximizing biodiversity representation only.
... Wikipedia page views represent a powerful data source for quantifying change in public awareness of biodiversity. Page views have been used to quantify public interest in reptiles (Roll et al. 2016) and species phenology (Mittermeier et al. 2019). In the context of awareness, Wikipedia is valuable in that pages are linked explicitly to biodiversity across scales. ...
... The link between culture and perceived biodiversity value or awareness is widely recognized (Daniel et al. 2012;Roll et al. 2016;Cooper et al. 2019;Ladle et al. 2019), but for a culturomics metric, such as the SAI, the drivers of change are complex. Overall trends capture many different drivers of awareness, making it difficult to isolate the causes for a given increase or decrease. ...
Article
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Although threats to global biodiversity are well known, slowing current rates of biodiversity loss remains a challenge. The Aichi targets set out 20 goals on which the international community should act to alleviate biodiversity decline, 1 of which (Target 1) aims to raise public awareness of the importance of biodiversity. Although conventional indicators for Target 1 are of low spatial and temporal coverage, conservation culturomics metrics show how biodiversity awareness can be quantified at the global scale. Following methods used for the Living Planet Index, we devised a species awareness index (SAI) to measure change in species awareness based on Wikipedia views. We calculated this index at the page level for 41,197 species listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) across 10 Wikipedia languages and >2 billion views from 1 July 2015 to 30 March 2020. Bootstrapped indices for the page-level SAI showed that overall awareness of biodiversity increased marginally over time, although there were differences among taxonomic classes and languages. Among taxonomic classes, overall awareness increased fastest for reptiles and slowest for amphibians. Among languages, overall species awareness increased fastest for Japanese and slowest for Chinese and German users. Although awareness of species as a whole increased and was significantly higher for traded species, from January 2016 through January 2020, change in awareness appeared not to be strongly related to whether the species is traded or is a pollinator. As a data source for public biodiversity awareness, the SAI could be integrated into the Conservation International Biodiversity Engagement Indicator.
... Along with the gender gap [1][2][3][4] , geographical bias has been one of the most researched issues regarding inequalities in the content coverage of Wikipedia [5][6][7][8][9][10] . Although the distribution of geo-referenced information is considerably different according to the language version of the encyclopedia 7,8 , studies show a transversal trend towards more content creation related to the United States and Western Europe, as well as a relative lack of information about some regions of Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia 9,10 . ...
... Along with the gender gap [1][2][3][4] , geographical bias has been one of the most researched issues regarding inequalities in the content coverage of Wikipedia [5][6][7][8][9][10] . Although the distribution of geo-referenced information is considerably different according to the language version of the encyclopedia 7,8 , studies show a transversal trend towards more content creation related to the United States and Western Europe, as well as a relative lack of information about some regions of Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia 9,10 . This trend is pretty widespread, and can be found both in the spatial distribution of the total number of geotagged articles 5 , and in the distribution of subgroups of articles. ...
Article
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This article proposes that an appropriate assessment of the geographical bias in Wikipedia's content should consider not only the number of articles linked to places but also their internal positioning –i.e. their location in different languages and their centrality in the network of references between articles–. This idea is studied empirically, systematically evaluating the geographic concentration in the biographical coverage of globally recognized individuals (those whose biographies are found in more than 25 language versions of Wikipedia). Considering the positioning levels of these biographies, only 5 countries account for more than 62% of Wikipedia's biographical coverage. In turn, the differences in coverage between countries reach very high levels of inequality, estimated with a Gini coefficient of .84 and a Palma ratio of 207. In all the tests carried out, the inclusion of the linguistic and/or relational positioning of the articles increases the estimate of inequality in biographical coverage. This suggests that previous estimates of geographical bias, which do not consider differences in positioning, have underestimated the degree of inequality in the distribution of information.
... Previous research has demonstrated that studying temporal trends in Wikipedia pageviews can provide insight into real-world phenomena [3,19,20]. Within conservation, Wikipedia pageviews have been used to compare human interest in reptile species [21]. As with any online data source, it is important to note that Wikipedia pageviews are not representative of all conservation stakeholders (people with limited access to the internet or those who live in countries where Wikipedia is blocked or unpopular are not represented), but pageview data do reflect the interests of a large and growing demographic that is of significant relevance to conservation. ...
Article
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Author summary Digital information archives offer novel opportunities to study human attitudes towards nature and to better understand how people interact with other species of animals and plants. The insights gained from such studies may be able to inform conservation efforts. Our study uses time-series of views to pages in the online encyclopedia Wikipedia to look at how human interest in other species varies seasonally across a wide range of different languages. In total, we extracted pageviews for 31,751 species of plants and animals across 245 Wikipedia language editions. Spanning nearly three years, our data set comprises 2.33 billion pageviews across 126,697 pages. We tested each time-series in our data set to see how well it fit a seasonal pattern and in doing so found several interesting patterns. First, seasonality is a significant factor in when people view information for many plants and animals online; over 20% of all of our species pages met our criteria for seasonality. Second, the prevalence of seasonality varies across different biological classes and also across languages. These variations appear to reflect differences in the life history of species and in the geographic distribution of languages and can correspond to phenological patterns in nature. Our results are relevant to conservationists seeking to understand how interest in various plants and animals may fluctuate over time.
... On the one hand, the information structured in this digital encyclopedia has begun to be used as an input to study interesting phenomena, such as historical trends (Schich et al 2014, Jara-Figueroa et al 2015, Reznik & Shatalov 2016, Menini et al 2017, the structure of links between different languages (Mehler et al 2011, Aragon et al 2012, Eom et al 2014, Ronen et al 2014, Ban et al 2017, or the geopolitical instability (Apic and Rusell 2011). On the other hand, this information has been used to understand the 'systemic biases' of Wikipedia's collective repository, emphasizing differences in the degree of information on different territories (Graham 2015, Roll et al 2016, cultures (Overell and Rüger 2011, Nemoto and Gloor 2011, Eom et al 2014 and genders (Gruwell 2015, Shane-Simpson andGillespie-Lynch 2017). ...
Preprint
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This article presents Networked Pantheon, a relational database of biographies of globally famous people spanning the last 5,500 years of human history. This source of information is intended to complement Pantheon 1.0 (Yu et. al. 2016), a biographical dataset that includes temporal, spatial, gender, and occupational information on 11,341 world-renowned people –defined as those who have their biographies in 25 or more Wikipedia language-versions–. Networked Pantheon adds information about the biographical links between these historical figures, which was compiled from the hyperlinks between the biographies in English Wikipedia. This digital method allows technics from network analysis to be used to study the relationships between globally famous people, and thus to calculate different measures of historical centrality for individuals, cities, countries, genders, and occupations. Networked Pantheon complements the historical popularity indicators of Pantheon 1.0 with measurements of the centrality of the figures in the network of biographical references, allowing for an approximation to the information flows between different territories, genders, and occupations of famous people over time.
... When tested against realworld data, geolocated data mined from social media have been found to be a robust indicator for human presence and spatial variation of visitation in protected areas at regional, national and global scale (Wood et al. 2013, Levin et al. 2015Heikinheimo et al. 2017;Tenkanen et al. 2017). The content of online posts has also been validated as a reliable source of information to assess people's preferences for biodiversity (Hausmann et al. 2018) or cultural ecosystem services (Richard & Tunçer 2017), and can be used to monitor public awareness of conservation (Roll et al. 2016;Correia et al. 2017;Cooper at al. 2019) and attractiveness of protected areas ). ...
... venomous or aggressive species), presence of key ecological values or ecosystem services, and various cultural values (i.e. traditional, religious, etc.) (Moustakas and Karakassis, 2005;Wilson et al., 2007;Proenca et al., 2008;Jarić et al., 2015;Zhang et al., 2015;Donaldson et al., 2016;Roll et al., 2016). ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Attention directed at different species by society and science is particularly relevant within the field of conservation, as societal preferences will strongly impact support for conservation initiatives and their success. Here, we assess the association between societal and research interests in four charismatic and threatened species groups, derived from a range of different online sources and social media platforms as well as scientific publications. We found a high level of concordance between scientific and societal taxonomic attention, which was consistent among assessed species groups and media sources. Results indicate that research is apparently not as disconnected from the interests of society as it is often reproached, and that societal support for current research objectives should be adequate. While the high degree of similarity between scientific and societal interest is both striking and satisfying, the dissimilarities are also interesting, as new scientific findings may constitute a constant source of novel interest for the society.
... Certainly, web analytics tools such as Google Analytics 24 or Google Trends 25 can assess the traffic of web articles, and the search trends of Internet users can be revealed; however, "neither the raw data nor the underlying algorithms are public." 26 Wikipedia's pageviews are used in astonishingly diverse fields such as the following: predicting the financial success of movies, 27 estimating stock market declines, 28 prognosticating rates of seasonal influenza, 29 determining ecologically threatened reptile species, 30 forecasting election results, 31 comprehending the phenology of plants and animals, 32 and analyzing current trends on the treatment of epilepsy. 33 Wikipedia's pageviews can be regarded as a source of "big data" that reflects societal concerns. ...
Conference Paper
A new approach to assess popularity relies on analysis of the number of times a web article is viewed. Here, a strategy is described to identify chemicals of widespread interest. The strategy makes use of Wikipedia, a rapidly growing publicly editable web encyclopedia that has become an influential knowledge base. While the total number of chemicals mentioned in Wikipedia is unknown, use of the Wikipedia Chemical Structure Explorer (WCSE) developed by Novartis enables identification of those that are described in an Infobox or Chembox along with a Simplified Molecular-Input Line-Entry system (SMILES) code. Using a Python script, all so-listed chemicals (16,243) in Wikipedia were identified and then sorted on the basis of their pageview rankings. Of the 16,243 chemicals, 846 (5.2%) belonged to controlled substances (United States Drug Enforcement Administration), WHO essential medicines, or the top 300 US drugs. These 846 chemicals received 220 million pageviews, which is 41.4% of the pageviews for all members of the Wikipedia chemical list. The number of chemicals described in the entire corpus of Wikipedia remains a tiny fraction of the <107 known chemicals. Much remains to be done to make the venerable literature and data of chemistry readily accessible. Regardless, identification of popular chemicals in this manner can be used to create selected databases, to tailor educational curricula, or to create targeted informational materials (such as safety brochures); such considerations of public demand are likely to engender corresponding widespread interest.
... The species with the most photographs relative to GBIF records tended to be more striking, either in size or colouration (e.g., Eunectes murinus, Malayopython reticulatus and Bothriechis schlegelii); a pattern reflected in GBIF records overall (Troudet et al., 2017). Public interest in reptiles has also been linked to whether a species is venomous, endangered, or widely distributed (Roll et al., 2016). It may be the case that traits associated with people's interest in a species are mediated by traits that control how likely a species is to be photographed, such as its rarity or natural history (e.g., generalist species may be more photographed than purely cryptozoic species). ...
Article
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A species' distribution provides fundamental information on: climatic niche, biogeography, and conservation status. Species distribution models often use occurrence records from biodiversity databases, subject to spatial and taxonomic biases. Deficiencies in occurrence data can lead to incomplete species distribution estimates. We can incorporate other data sources to supplement occurrence datasets. The general public is creating (via GPS-enabled cameras to photograph wildlife) incidental occurrence records that may present an opportunity to improve species distribution models. We investigated (1) occurrence data of a cryptic group of animals: non-marine snakes, in a biodiversity database (Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF)) and determined (2) whether incidental occurrence records extracted from geo-tagged social media images (Flickr) could improve distribution models for 18 tropical snake species. We provide R code to search for and extract data from images using Flickr's API. We show the biodiversity database's 302,386 records disproportionately originate from North America, Europe and Oceania (250,063, 82.7%), with substantial gaps in tropical areas that host the highest snake diversity. North America, Europe and Oceania averaged several hundred records per species; whereas Asia, Africa and South America averaged less than 35 per species. Occurrence density showed similar patterns; Asia, Africa and South America have roughly tenfold fewer records per 100 km 2 than other regions. Social media provided 44,687 potential records. However, including them in distribution models only marginally impacted niche estimations; niche overlap indices were consistently over 0.9. Similarly, we show negligible differences in Maxent model performance between models trained using GBIF-only and Flickr-supplemented datasets. Model performance appeared dependent on species, rather than number of occurrences or training dataset. We suggest that for tropical snakes, accessible social media currently fails to deliver appreciable benefits for estimating species distributions; but due to the variation between species and the rapid growth in social media data, may still be worth considering in future contexts.
... Locally-iconic species were selected based on a review of grey literature to help synthesise and identify which species were culturally important for each region. Determining what is iconic is ultimately subjective, but methods such as those used by Daigle et al. (2017), who defined iconic species as those that appear on Canadian coins in their Canadian OHI assessment, or Roll et al. (2016) who investigated cultural importance of reptiles through internet interest, show that more systematic methods are possible. Iconic species selected for each region can be found in Table A2-9. ...
Thesis
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The design, selection and use of indicators for large-scale conservation policy has been of great interest since the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) committed to a significant reduction in the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. Following the introduction of the 2020 Aichi Targets, there was an increase, not only in demand for numbers of indicators, but the requirements that they are expected to meet. The complexities of social-ecological systems and the inevitable trade-offs that exist within them mean understanding and validating indicator responses are critical if they are to play a role in active management. In this thesis, I look critically at uncertainties around how indicators are constructed and used, through the lens of marine science and conservation. I start the thesis by exploring the different types of uncertainty found when using composite indicators and from reviewing the literature, suggest possible methods of dealing with them. I find that structural uncertainties of indicators are rarely acknowledged. As a case study of application of composite indicators, I developed an Ocean Health Index assessment for the Arctic Ocean, demonstrating how a structured framework can be of great use for taking a data-driven approach to assessing social-ecological systems in large, data-poor regions. I show the Arctic is sustainably delivering a range of benefits to people, but with room for improvement in all areas, particularly tourism, fisheries, and protected places. Successful management of biological resources and short-term positive impacts on biodiversity in response to climate change underlie these high goal scores. I then explore how two biodiversity indicators (Living Planet Index and Norway Nature Index) can be better interpreted and validated using an end-to-end ecosystem model, Atlantis, in the Nordic and Barents Seas. By simulating different fishing scenarios, I evaluated the extent to which the model-based testing approach gave insights into indicator behaviour; while the LPI is able to distinguish clearly between three different fishing scenarios, the NNI is only able to distinguish the most heavily fished scenario from the other two. I discuss how this approach is useful for indicator testing and to advance integration of large-scale biodiversity indicators with goal-setting and decision making at the system scale. I then use the model to explore how different indicators of biodiversity from across fisheries and conservation respond to management interventions in Norway in the face of climate change. I find that despite having the same intentions, fisheries and conservation biodiversity indicators respond differently to each other under the same scenarios, due to how they are constructed. This means that without proper validation, indicators can potentially give different pictures of the same system to different interest groups, meaning greater integration and understanding of conservation and fisheries management objectives is necessary. Finally, I reflect on the findings of my thesis in light of the CBD Post-2020 Framework. I discuss several core areas where the process could be revised to improve biodiversity outcomes. This includes formulating a robust theory of change to give the framework a clear conceptual basis and explicitly articulate the causal assumptions about the relationship between actions and outcomes. I do not focus on what targets should look like, but instead seek proactive, solutions-oriented approaches that can help ‘bend the curve’ for biodiversity. This thesis highlights the uncertainties and challenges associated with large-scale indicator design and use and demonstrates how countries can take steps to reduce these. Greater consideration of the systems within which indicators are based can lead to better validation and ultimately better decision making.
... Although awareness https://doi.org/10. 33256/hj29.4.264273 within the conservation community of herpetofauna biology, research and protection has increased recently (Gibbons et al., 2000;Urbina-Cardona, 2008;Ohmer & Bishop, 2011;Böhm et al., 2013;Roll et al., 2016), in addition to some studies that have dealt with publication rates (Gibbons, 1988;McCallum & McCallum, 2006;Urbina-Cardona, 2008;Christoffel & Lepczyk, 2012;Lovich & Ennen, 2013) and funding (Gibbons, 1988) in herpetology, there is still a lack of understanding on how current funding allocation and conservation publication outputs vary among herpetological taxonomic groups worldwide, and the relationship between funding levels and degree of threat. Such data are important to detect any bias arising from perceptions of need not related directly to actual levels of threat, and to realign priorities to better balance effort across need. ...
Article
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Currently, herpetofauna worldwide is facing enormous threats; the number of threatened species is increasing at an alarming rate and many species have gone extinct. Despite efforts of institutions and researchers to understand and address the causes of declines and raise awareness of herpetofauna conservation, there has been no systematic study to evaluate the allocation of funding for basic and applied research relevant to conservation, relative publication rates, and the relationship of these measures to a degree of threat among herpetological groups. This study addresses this gap and identifies strengths and weaknesses of herpetological research and conservation over the last 10 years (2008-2018). Frogs had the highest grant-publication index (1384), followed by lizards (695), turtles (678), snakes (461.5), salamanders (366.5), crocodiles (164), caecilians (25.5), worm lizards (23) and tuatara (10). Nonetheless, when the grant-publication index is divided by the number of threatened and data-deficient species within each group, it demonstrates that, proportionally and in ascending order, salamanders, snakes, lizards, worm lizards, frogs and caecilians are in most need of knowledge and ongoing funding for their conservation and survival. I was able to document a continued shift in attention in herpetological research owing to the emergence of chytridiomycosis and the global decline of amphibians. Despite some caveats, these findings should represent a proxy for the allocation of research and conservation effort on herpetofauna worldwide. I suggest priorities for research and how to better direct efforts to herpetofauna conservation.
... Indeed, recent studies have demonstrated the utility of culturomic approaches for quantifying and monitoring trade in endangered species via information on social media sites (Di Minin, Fink, Tenkanen, & Hiippala, 2018;Di Minin, Tenkanen, & Toivonen, 2015) and the enormous potential of user generated data (e.g. Wikipedia page views) for tracking of taxonomic and temporal trends in public interest in nature (Mittermeier, Roll, Matthews, & Grenyer, 2019;Roll et al., 2016). A genuine 'whole system' approach would also need to incorporate data on human sentiment towards species and places. ...
Article
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1. Conservation will only be successful over the long term if people support conservation goals. While many factors may influence the level of such support, it is clear that people are more willing to conserve species and places that they are familiar with and which provide them with something they value. 2. Until now this dimension has been largely lacking from conservation decision-making and its underlying scientific evidence base. This is understandable given conservation scientists' historic focus on population and community ecology and the practical difficulties associated with assessing the cultural prominence of species or places at anything more than local scale. 3. This latter challenge is rapidly being addressed through a new generation of culturomic metrics that takes advantage of publicly available digital content. 4. Here, we suggest that one such metric, estimated frequency of webpages that mention the scientific names of a species, broadly reflects the relative prominence of a species in global culture. 5. Using all extant bird species as a case study, we demonstrate that species that are mentioned at high frequency on the global internet: (a) were scientifically described earlier, (b) have wide geographic ranges that overlap with technologically advanced societies, (c) are phenotypically conspicuous and (d) are strongly associated with direct human interactions (e.g. hunting). 6. These results support the use of estimates of scientific name frequency on the internet as a proxy of a species' cultural salience, especially with respect to urban populations in technologically advanced societies. 7. We conclude by discussing how a new generation of digital tools might be developed to support conservation monitoring and communication. KEYWORDS: birds, cultural value, culturomics, digital methods, human-nature interactions
... On the one hand, the information structured in this digital encyclopedia has begun to be used as an input to study interesting phenomena, such as historical trends (Schich et al 2014, Jara-Figueroa et al 2015, Reznik & Shatalov 2016, Menini et al 2017, the structure of links between different languages (Mehler et al 2011, Aragon et al 2012, Eom et al 2014, Ronen et al 2014, Ban et al 2017, or the geopolitical instability (Apic and Rusell 2011). On the other hand, this information has been used to understand the 'systemic biases' of Wikipedia's collective repository, emphasizing differences in the degree of information on different territories (Graham 2015, Roll et al 2016, cultures (Overell and Rüger 2011, Nemoto and Gloor 2011, Eom et al 2014 and genders (Gruwell 2015, Shane-Simpson andGillespie-Lynch 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
This article presents Networked Pantheon, a relational database of biographies of globally famous people spanning the last 5,500 years of human history. This source of information is intended to complement Pantheon 1.0 (Yu et. al. 2016), a biographical dataset that includes temporal, spatial, gender, and occupational information on 11,341 world-renowned people-defined as those who have their biographies in 25 or more Wikipedia language-versions-. Networked Pantheon adds information about the biographical links between these historical figures, which was compiled from the hyperlinks between the biographies in English Wikipedia. This digital method allows technics from network analysis to be used to study the relationships between globally famous people, and thus to calculate different measures of historical centrality for individuals, cities, countries, genders, and occupations. Networked Pantheon complements the historical popularity indicators of Pantheon 1.0 with measurements of the centrality of the figures in the network of biographical references, allowing for an approximation to the information flows between different territories, genders, and occupations of famous people over time.
... Popularity of an article can be measured based on the number of visits [34,38]. For example, one of the studies compared reptiles species' page view numbers across languages and in their spatial distribution along with various biological attributes [67]. ...
Article
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On Wikipedia, articles about various topics can be created and edited independently in each language version. Therefore, the quality of information about the same topic depends on the language. Any interested user can improve an article and that improvement may depend on the popularity of the article. The goal of this study is to show what topics are best represented in different language versions of Wikipedia using results of quality assessment for over 39 million articles in 55 languages. In this paper, we also analyze how popular selected topics are among readers and authors in various languages. We used two approaches to assign articles to various topics. First, we selected 27 main multilingual categories and analyzed all their connections with sub-categories based on information extracted from over 10 million categories in 55 language versions. To classify the articles to one of the 27 main categories, we took into account over 400 million links from articles to over 10 million categories and over 26 million links between categories. In the second approach, we used data from DBpedia and Wikidata. We also showed how the results of the study can be used to build local and global rankings of the Wikipedia content.
... Most work examining connections between human preference and conservation was not designed directly to test evolutionary history or phenotypic diversity, and there is not enough evidence available to evaluate Link 3. Current studies are limited in number and are rarely designed to test directly whether evolutionary history or phenotypic diversity is linked to human preference directly, or via a sampling effect, whereby more diverse sets tend to include species we prefer. Future studies should consider testing human preference for PD or TR directly, for example asking 'Do people favour national parks harbouring sets of distantly related species more than parks that are home to sets of closely related species?' or 'Do people search more frequently online for species with no close relatives and, if so, why?' (Roll et al., 2016). We note that the potential variation in human values across cultures and world views regarding biodiversity may preclude any easy generalities. ...
Article
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It is often claimed that conserving evolutionary history is more efficient than species‐based approaches for capturing the attributes of biodiversity that benefit people. This claim underpins academic analyses and recommendations about the distribution and prioritization of species and areas for conservation, but evolutionary history is rarely considered in practical conservation activities. One impediment to implementation is that arguments related to the human‐centric benefits of evolutionary history are often vague and the underlying mechanisms poorly explored. Herein we identify the arguments linking the prioritization of evolutionary history with benefits to people, and for each we explicate the purported mechanism, and evaluate its theoretical and empirical support. We find that, even after 25 years of academic research, the strength of evidence linking evolutionary history to human benefits is still fragile. Most – but not all – arguments rely on the assumption that evolutionary history is a useful surrogate for phenotypic diversity. This surrogacy relationship in turn underlies additional arguments, particularly that, by capturing more phenotypic diversity, evolutionary history will preserve greater ecosystem functioning, capture more of the natural variety that humans prefer, and allow the maintenance of future benefits to humans. A surrogate relationship between evolutionary history and phenotypic diversity appears reasonable given theoretical and empirical results, but the strength of this relationship varies greatly. To the extent that evolutionary history captures unmeasured phenotypic diversity, maximizing the representation of evolutionary history should capture variation in species characteristics that are otherwise unknown, supporting some of the existing arguments. However, there is great variation in the strength and availability of evidence for benefits associated with protecting phenotypic diversity. There are many studies finding positive biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationships, but little work exists on the maintenance of future benefits or the degree to which humans prefer sets of species with high phenotypic diversity or evolutionary history. Although several arguments link the protection of evolutionary history directly with the reduction of extinction rates, and with the production of relatively greater future biodiversity via increased adaptation or diversification, there are few direct tests. Several of these putative benefits have mismatches between the relevant spatial scales for conservation actions and the spatial scales at which benefits to humans are realized. It will be important for future work to fill in some of these gaps through direct tests of the arguments we define here.
... When tested against real-world data, geolocated data mined from social media have been found to be a robust indicator for human presence and spatial variation of visitation in protected areas at regional, national and global scale (Wood et al., 2013;Levin et al., 2015;Heikinheimo et al., 2017;Tenkanen et al., 2017). The content of online posts has also been validated as a reliable source of information to assess people's preferences for biodiversity (Hausmann et al., 2018) or cultural ecosystem services (Richard and Tunçer, 2017), and can be used to monitor public awareness of conservation (Roll et al., 2016;Correia et al., 2017;Cooper et al., 2019) and attractiveness of protected areas . ...
Article
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Understanding worldwide patterns of human use of sites of international significance for biodiversity conservation is crucial for meeting global conservation targets. However, robust global datasets are scarce. In this study, we used social media data, mined from Flickr and Twitter, geolocated in Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) to assess i) patterns of popularity; ii) relationships of this popularity with geographical and biological variables; and iii) identify sites under high pressure from visitors. IBAs located in Europe and Asia, and in temperate biomes, had the highest density of users. Sites of importance for congregatory species, which were also more accessible, more densely populated and provided more tourism facilities, received higher visitation than did sites richer in bird species. We found 17% of all IBAs assessed to be under very high threat also received high visitation. Our results show in which IBAs enhanced monitoring should be implemented to reduce potential visitation risks to sites of conservation concern for birds, and to harness the potential benefits of tourism for conservation.
... venomous or aggressive species), presence of key ecological values or ecosystem services, and various cultural values (i.e. traditional, religious, etc.) (Moustakas and Karakassis, 2005;Wilson et al., 2007;Proenca et al., 2008;Jarić et al., 2015;Zhang et al., 2015;Donaldson et al., 2016;Roll et al., 2016). ...
Article
Attention directed at different species by society and science is particularly relevant within the field of conservation, as societal preferences will strongly impact support for conservation initiatives and their success. Here, we assess the association between societal and research interests in four charismatic and threatened species groups, derived from a range of different online sources and social media platforms as well as scientific publications. We found a high level of concordance between scientific and societal taxonomic attention, which was consistent among assessed species groups and media sources. Results indicate that research is apparently not as disconnected from the interests of society as it is often reproached, and that societal support for current research objectives should be adequate. While the high degree of similarity between scientific and societal interest is both striking and satisfying, the dissimilarities are also interesting, as new scientific findings may constitute a constant source of novel interest for the society. In that respect, additional efforts will be necessary to draw scientific and societal focus towards less charismatic species that are in urgent need of research and conservation attention.
... Determining what is iconic is ultimately subjective, but methods such as those used by Daigle et al. (2017), who defined iconic species as those that appear on Canadian coins in their Canadian OHI assessment, or Roll et al. (2016) who investigated cultural importance of reptiles through internet interest, show that more systematic methods are possible. Iconic species selected for each region can be found in Table S9. ...
Article
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Marine social-ecological conditions in the Arctic are rapidly changing. With many transboundary issues, such as shifting ranges of fisheries, biodiversity loss, sea ice retreat, economic development and pollution, greater pan-Arctic assessment and co-management are necessary. We adapted the Ocean Health Index (OHI) to compile pan-Arctic data and evaluate ocean health for nine regions above the Arctic Circle to assess the extent to which pan-Arctic assessment is possible and identify broad social-ecological trends. While the quality and availability of data varied, we assessed and scored nine OHI goals, including the pressures and resilience measures acting upon them. Our results show the Arctic is sustainably delivering a range of benefits to people, but with room for improvement in all goals, particularly tourism, fisheries, and protected places. Successful management of biological resources and short-term positive impacts on biodiversity in response to climate change underlie these high goal scores. The OHI assesses the past and near-term future but does not account for medium- and long-term future risks associated with climate change, highlighting the need for ongoing monitoring, dynamic management, and strong action to mitigate its anticipated effects. A general increase in and standardisation of monitoring is urgently needed in the Arctic. Unified assessments, such as this one, can support national comparisons, data quality assessments, and discussions on the targeting of limited monitoring capabilities at the most pressing and urgent transboundary management challenges, which is a priority for achieving successful Arctic stewardship.
... By the end of 2016, 3.9 billion people (47% of the human population) had access to the internet [16], and in a world where 66% of the global population is predicted to be living in urban areas by 2050 [17], public support for species conservation will increasingly be influenced by online interactions with nature [18]. Data on internet search trends are already used to predict movement in financial markets [19] and disease outbreaks [20], as well as to assess public awareness of broader conservation issues [21][22], projects [23], and the cultural salience of species [24][25]. ...
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The interrelationship between public interest in endangered species and the attention they receive from the conservation community is the ‘flywheel’ driving much effort to abate global extinction rates. Yet big international conservation non-governmental organisations have typically focused on the plight of a handful of appealing endangered species, while the public remains largely unaware of the majority. We quantified the existence of bias in popular interest towards species, by analysing global internet search interest in 36,873 vertebrate taxa. Web search interest was higher for mammals and birds at greater risk of extinction, but this was not so for fish, reptiles and amphibians. Our analysis reveals a global bias in popular interest towards vertebrates that is undermining incentives to invest financial capital in thousands of species threatened with extinction. Raising the popular profile of these lesser known endangered and critically endangered species will generate clearer political and financial incentives for their protection.
... At first, one could note the likely lack of substantial public interest in conservation issues (e.g., Burivalova et al., 2018;Ficetola, 2013;Mccallum & Bury, 2013;Nghiem et al., 2016;Novacek, 2008;Troumbis, 2017aTroumbis, , 2017b2019). Second, cultural and linguistic differences in people's perceptions of nature (e.g., Funk & Rusowsky, 2014;Roll et al., 2016;Troumbis, 2021) often estrange them with scientific terminology and conservation concepts (e.g., Fischer & Young, 2007). Third, the mismatches between scientific effort and conservation needs (Fisher et al., 2010). ...
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This paper examines aspects of the relationship between (1) the recently typified form of biodiversity crime, (2) information made available to the public through the Internet, and (3) cultural dynamics quantified through info-surveillance methods through Culturomics techniques. We propose two conceptual models: (1) the building-up process of a biodiversity crime culturome, in some language, and (2) a multi-stage biodiversity conservation chain and biodiversity-crime activities relating to each stage. We use crowd search volumes on the Internet on biodiversity crime-related terms and topics as proxies for measuring public interest. The main findings are: (1) the concept of biodiversity-crime per se is still immature and presents low penetration to the general public; (2) biodiversity-crime issues, not recognized as such, are amalgamated in conservation-oriented websites and pages; and (3) differences in perceptions and priorities between general vs. niche public with particular interest(s) in environmental issues- are discernable.
... Our prediction was that species occurring in anthropogenic areas would be more researched because they can often be found close to research centers; (v) Body size: there is a large body of literature that suggests that larger species of vertebrates generate more public interest (e.g. Frynta, Šimková, Lišková, & Landová, 2013;Correia, Jepson, Malhado, & Ladle, 2016;Roll et al., 2016), and may have more intrinsic appeal to researchers. Larger species may also be easier to locate and sample in the field, and may be more attractive for leveraging conservation funding. ...
... Obviously one cannot quantify either decline, or fluctuations, or numbers of mature and immature individuals for any of these species. Gecko species are not the charismatic, large, and dangerous animals that attract most human attention -and conservation actions (Donaldson et al., 2016;Roll et al., 2016). That geckos receive so little protection in nature reserves, lower than even the dismal state of reptiles as a whole , imply that we are failing to protect them -or even identify them as needing protection. ...
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Geckos are a hyper-diverse, ancient, and globally distributed group. They have diverged early from other squamates and thus can be expected to differ from them along multiple ecological, life history, and biogeographic axes. I review a wide range of gecko traits, comparing them to those of other lizard taxa, to identify the unique, and unifying, attributes of geckos among lizards, based on comprehensive databases of lizard distributions and biological attributes. Few traits completely separate geckos from other lizard taxa, yet they differ to a large degree along many axes: they are more restricted to low latitudes and altitudes, are especially diverse on islands, but relatively scarce in America. They are small lizards, that lay small, fixed clutch sizes, for which they compensate only partially by laying frequently. Because they mature at relatively similar ages and have similar lifespans to other lizards, geckos produce fewer offspring over a year, and over their lifetimes, perhaps implying that they enjoy higher survival rates. While being the only large lizard clade of predominantly nocturnal lizards a large proportion of species is active by day. Gecko body temperatures and preferred temperatures are lower than those of other lizards –even when they are compared to lizards with similar activity times. Worryingly, most geckos have small ranges that often reside completely outside of protected areas – much more frequently than in other reptile and vertebrate taxa.
... Species distributions are enriched by the inclusion of community generated data (Jiménez-Valverde et al. 2019), invasive species expansions are identified and tracked (Allain 2019), and species interactions are identified from social media posts (Maritz & Maritz 2020). Outside of strictly ecological questions, species online presences provide a mirror to society's interest and attitude towards species (Kidd et al. 2018;McClain 2019;Roll et al. 2016), while potentially highlighting conflicts, ranging from habitat destruction to nature tourism (Measey et al. 2019;Miranda et al. 2016, Otsuka & Yamakoshi 2020. Reptiles are also threatened by commercial overharvesting and some species possibly even by the pet trade (Auliya et al. 2016, Marshall et al. 2020. ...
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No central online repository exists for the collection of animal images; hence it remains unclear how extensively species have been illustrated in the published literature or online. Here we compiled a list of more than 8000 reptile species (out of 11,341) that have photos in one of six popular online repositories, namely iNaturalist (6,349 species), the Reptile Database (5,144), Flickr (4,386), CalPhotos (3,071), Wikimedia (2,952), and Herpmapper (2,571). These sites have compiled over one million reptile photos, with some species represented by tens of thousands of images. Despite the number of images,many species have only one or a few images. This suggests that a considerable fraction of morphological and geographic variation is under documented or difficult to access. We highlight prominent gaps in amphisbaenians, lizards, and snakes,with geographic hotspots for species without images in Central Africa, Pacific Islands, and the Andes Mountains. We present a list of ~3,000 species without photos in any of the six databases and ask the community to fill the gaps by depositing images on one of these sites (preferably with minimal copyright restrictions).
... The charisma of a species affects its societal salience both before and after extinction and may prolong or weaken the process of societal extinction. Charismatic species are often large, colorful, with forward-facing eyes, and phylogenetically close to humans; they are usually positively perceived, can be evolutionary outliers or otherwise behaviorally novel, but sometimes also dangerous animals [25][26][27][28][29]. For example, the enduring popularity of the dodo (Raphus cucullatus) and thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) has led to their use as conservation flagships Box 1. Direct and vicarious experiences Collective memory of a species stems from both (i) direct or embodied experiences and (ii) indirect, vicarious, or disembodied experiences [51]. ...
Article
The ongoing global biodiversity crisis not only involves biological extinctions, but also the loss of experience and the gradual fading of cultural knowledge and collective memory of species. We refer to this phenomenon as 'societal extinction of species' and apply it to both extinct and extant taxa. We describe the underlying concepts as well as the mechanisms and factors that affect this process, discuss its main implications, and identify mitigation measures. Societal extinction is cognitively intractable, but it is tied to biological extinction and thus has important consequences for conservation policy and management. It affects societal perceptions of the severity of anthropogenic impacts and of true extinction rates, erodes societal support for conservation efforts, and causes the loss of cultural heritage.
... Although less informative as a ground-truth source of ENDS sales data, the Wikipedia list is larger, providing a potentially more comprehensive and diverse list of ENDS brands than the Nielsen scanner data set, which focuses on top-selling brands. Wikipedia entries and lists have been used and repurposed in various studies [48,49]. The version of the list used in this study was accessed on March 16, 2020. ...
Article
Background Electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) brands, such as JUUL, used social media as a key component of their marketing strategy, which led to massive sales growth from 2015 to 2018. During this time, ENDS use rapidly increased among youths and young adults, with flavored products being particularly popular among these groups. Objective The aim of our study is to develop a named entity recognition (NER) model to identify potential emerging vaping brands and flavors from Instagram post text. NER is a natural language processing task for identifying specific types of words (entities) in text based on the characteristics of the entity and surrounding words. Methods NER models were trained on a labeled data set of 2272 Instagram posts coded for ENDS brands and flavors. We compared three types of NER models—conditional random fields, a residual convolutional neural network, and a fine-tuned distilled bidirectional encoder representations from transformers (FTDB) network—to identify brands and flavors in Instagram posts with key model outcomes of precision, recall, and F1 scores. We used data from Nielsen scanner sales and Wikipedia to create benchmark dictionaries to determine whether brands from established ENDS brand and flavor lists were mentioned in the Instagram posts in our sample. To prevent overfitting, we performed 5-fold cross-validation and reported the mean and SD of the model validation metrics across the folds. Results For brands, the residual convolutional neural network exhibited the highest mean precision (0.797, SD 0.084), and the FTDB exhibited the highest mean recall (0.869, SD 0.103). For flavors, the FTDB exhibited both the highest mean precision (0.860, SD 0.055) and recall (0.801, SD 0.091). All NER models outperformed the benchmark brand and flavor dictionary look-ups on mean precision, recall, and F1. Comparing between the benchmark brand lists, the larger Wikipedia list outperformed the Nielsen list in both precision and recall. Conclusions Our findings suggest that NER models correctly identified ENDS brands and flavors in Instagram posts at rates competitive with, or better than, others in the published literature. Brands identified during manual annotation showed little overlap with those in Nielsen scanner data, suggesting that NER models may capture emerging brands with limited sales and distribution. NER models address the challenges of manual brand identification and can be used to support future infodemiology and infoveillance studies. Brands identified on social media should be cross-validated with Nielsen and other data sources to differentiate emerging brands that have become established from those with limited sales and distribution.
... To enable a broader comparison between species, and to test that assertion with respect to whale sharks, we tabulated the pageviews for each species group on Wikipedia (for the entire year of 2019) from the Courchamp et al. (2018) results. This metric does not, of course, capture all web searches for each species, but as Wikipedia is one of the world's most popular websites, and generally ranks high in search engine results, it is a useful independent indicator of the public awareness and interest in wildlife species (Roll et al. 2016;McGowan et al. 2020). Wikipedia views do indeed emphasize the interest in these animals (Table 12.1), with most receiving over a million pageviews through the year. ...
... Wikipedia page views have recently been proposed as a metric of public interest in species (Fukano et al., 2020;Harrington et al., 2018;Roll et al., 2016). Here, we extend this approach to quantify public interest in PAs in terms of views of the PA's Wikipedia page. ...
Article
Protected areas (PAs) are often seen as opportunity costs and are therefore vulnerable to political decisions that open them up to public or private development initiatives. We reasoned that, ceteris paribus, PAs with high levels of public support should be more resilient to such decisions because; i) politicians in democratic societies are reluctant to make unpopular/controversial decisions that go against public opinion, and; ii) the proposed development of popular PAs is more likely to be met by vigorous resistance (‘push-back’) from NGOs and other societal actors. Nevertheless, public interest and, by extension, support for protected areas has rarely been considered in PA risk assessments. Here, we propose an innovative approach to assessing the political vulnerability of PAs that combines indices of developmental pressures (from the DOPA database) with an innovative culturomic-derived metric of public interest based on Wikipedia page views. Using automated methods, we quantify the political vulnerability status of 523 Brazilian PAs. Our analysis reveals a large number of PAs that may be politically vulnerable, being characterized by a combination of high developmental pressure and low/very low levels of public interest. For such PAs, we recommend managers take measures to increase public interest to ensure a healthy base of public support in the future. We conclude that digital metrics of public interest are simply and inexpensively generated, and could be easily incorporated into the existing assessment systems for protected areas.
... This could reflect a bias towards reporting medically-important species, that these species are more abundant, more detectable, and/or that their ranges include higher levels of participation in citizen science. Many people are fascinated by venomous snakes (Roll et al., 2016), but in most areas MIVS are not more abundant or diverse than non-MIVS (Luiselli et al., 2020). Citizen scientists in the Carolinas were more likely to submit photos of snakes than of other reptiles and amphibians (Price and Dorcas, 2011), suggesting that fascination with or fear of snakes might motivate people to document them at higher rates than other taxa, but whether this is particularly true for venomous snakes remains to be rigorously tested (and in many cases the citizen scientist submitting the photo might not know whether the snake is venomous or not). ...
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The secretive behavior and life history of snakes makes studying their biology, distribution, and the epidemiology of venomous snakebite challenging. One of the most useful, most versatile, and easiest to collect types of biological data are photographs, particularly those that are connected with geographic location and date-time metadata. Photos verify occurrence records, provide data on phenotypes and ecology, and are often used to illustrate new species descriptions, field guides and identification keys, as well as in training humans and computer vision algorithms to identify snakes. We scoured eleven online and two offline sources of snake photos in an attempt to collect as many photos of as many snake species as possible, and attempt to explain some of the inter-species variation in photograph quantity among global regions and taxonomic groups, and with regard to medical importance, human population density, and range size. We collected a total of 725,565 photos—between 1 and 48,696 photos of 3098 of the world's 3879 snake species (79.9%), leaving 781 “most wanted” species with no photos (20.1% of all currently-described species as of the December 2020 release of The Reptile Database). We provide a list of most wanted species sortable by family, continent, authority, and medical importance, and encourage snake photographers worldwide to submit photos and associated metadata, particularly of “missing” species, to the most permanent and useful online archives: The Reptile Database, iNaturalist, and HerpMapper.
... We measure consumption by counting the total number of views of the article over the 100 days prior to our data collection date and the number of Wikilinks from other articles into the target article. Wikipedia article view counts are popular widely used measures of cultural interest or salience (Cao et al., 2020;McIver and Brownstein, 2014;Roll et al., 2016). Wikilinks from other articles are a measure of the centrality of an article, if many other articles link to it, then the article is wellintegrated into the encyclopedia and viewed as important for supporting information presented in other articles. ...
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UNESCO World Heritage sites are places of outstanding significance and often key sources of information that influence how people interact with the past today. The process of inscription on the UNESCO list is complicated and intersects with political and commercial controversies. But how well are these controversies known to the public? Wikipedia pages on these sites offer a unique dataset for insights into public understanding of heritage controversies. The unique technicity of Wikipedia, with its bot ecosystem and editing mechanics, shapes how knowledge about cultural heritage is constructed and how controversies are negotiated and communicated. In this article, we investigate the patterns of production, consumption, and spatial and temporal distributions of Wikipedia pages for World Heritage cultural sites. We find that Wikipedia provides a distinctive context for investigating how people experience and relate to the past in the present. The agency of participants is highly constrained, but distinctive, behind-the-scenes expressions of cultural heritage activism are evident. Concerns about state-like actors, violence and destruction, deal-making, etc. in the World Heritage inscription process are present, but rare on Wikipedia’s World Heritage pages. Instead, hyper-local and process issues dominate controversies on Wikipedia. We describe how this kind of research, drawing on Big Data and data science methods, contributes to digital heritage studies and also reveals its limitations.
... On the one hand, the information structured in this digital encyclopedia has been used as input to study a large number of phenomena, such as historical trends (Jara-Figueroa et al., 2016;Menini et al., 2017;Reznik & Shatalov, 2016;Schich et al., 2014), links between languages (Aragon et al., 2012;Ban et al., 2017;Eom et al., 2015;Mehler et al., 2011;Ronen et al., 2014), geopolitical instabilities (Apic et al., 2011), global prestige of universities (Lages et al., 2016), underlying connections between proteins (Zinovyev et al., 2020) and the influence of infectious diseases (Rollin et al., 2019). On the other hand, it has also been used to analyze the "systemic biases" of Wikipedia's collective repository, emphasizing differences in the degree of information on various territories (Beytía, 2020;Graham et al., 2015;Roll et al., 2016), cultures (Eom et al., 2015;Nemoto & Gloor, 2011;Overell & Rüger, 2011) and genders (Gruwell, 2015;Shane-Simpson & Gillespie-Lynch, 2017). ...
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This article presents the Networked Pantheon, a relational database of biographies of globally famous people spanning the last 5,500 years of human history. This information source is intended to complement Pantheon 1.0 (Yu et al., 2016), a dataset that includes temporal, spatial, gender, and occupational information on 11,341 world-renowned people-defined as those who have biographies available in more than 25 languages on Wikipedia. The Networked Pantheon adds information about the biographical links between these historical figures, compiled from hyperlinks between the biographies in the English Wikipedia. This digital method enables techniques from network analysis to be used in studying the biographical relationships between globally famous people. Thus, distinct measures of historical centrality can be calculated for individuals, cities, countries, genders, and occupations. The Networked Pantheon includes indicators of figure centrality in the network of biographical references and provides an approximation of the information flows between various territories, genders, and occupations of famous people over time.
... Culturomics and iEcology can be valuable approaches to identify flagship and umbrella species and monitor their public uptake [1]. Culturomics can help identify promising flagship species based on societal interest across many candidate species (Fig 1B) [58,59], while iEcology can help identify potential umbrella species by mapping their distribution and overlaps with key habitats and co-occurring species. Culturomics can also help gauge the effects of public awareness campaigns and behavior change interventions that employ flagship species [60] and help assess and adapt social marketing strategies. ...
Article
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The ongoing digital revolution in the age of big data is opening new research opportunities. Culturomics and iEcology, two emerging research areas based on the analysis of online data resources, can provide novel scientific insights and inform conservation and management efforts. To date, culturomics and iEcology have been applied primarily in the terrestrial realm. Here, we advocate for expanding such applications to the aquatic realm by providing a brief overview of these new approaches and outlining key areas in which culturomics and iEcology are likely to have the highest impact, including the management of protected areas; fisheries; flagship species identification; detection and distribution of threatened, rare, and alien species; assessment of ecosystem status and anthropogenic impacts; and social impact assessment. When deployed in the right context with awareness of potential biases, culturomics and iEcology are ripe for rapid development as low-cost research approaches based on data available from digital sources, with increasingly diverse applications for aquatic ecosystems.
... As a result, only a small number of species (e.g., lion, wolf, tiger, panda, whale, polar bear, and shark) receive a large proportion of public interest. In another paper, the same group used Wikipedia to explore the cultural importance of global reptiles (Roll, Mittermeier et al. 2016). The authors used data of the page views to understand the global-scale patterns of human interest. ...
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Biodiversity conservation is highly important in the current environmental protection. Besides the science and politics analysis, the scientists also invent the novel technologies to support the biodiversity conservation. This paper examines the important technologies in the biodiversity conservation, including big data, citizen science, CRISPR, geographic information system, automatic data capture system, and light detection and ranging.
... This is further strengthened by regional differences and gaps in knowledge and information about these threats, due to strong spatial research biases 50,51 . Regional and country-level differences in societal taxonomic attention and interest in conservation issues have been also observed in other studies 8,15 . The United Kingdom showed a particular pattern related to invasive alien species compared to the two other countries, with considerably higher online association of species with the threat. ...
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Public attention and interest in the fate of endangered species is a crucial prerequisite for effective conservation programs. Societal awareness and values will largely determine whether conservation initiatives receive necessary support and lead to adequate policy change. Using text data mining, we assessed general public attention in France, Germany and the United Kingdom toward climate change and biological invasions in relation to endangered amphibian, reptile, bird and mammal species. Our analysis revealed that public attention patterns differed among species groups and countries but was globally higher for climate change than for biological invasions. Both threats received better recognition in threatened than in non-threatened species, as well as in native species than in species from other countries and regions. We conclude that more efficient communication regarding the threat from biological invasions should be developed, and that conservation practitioners should take advantage of the existing attention toward climate change.
... However, in the context of this study, combining the Wikipedia page view data with a causal inference approach directly linked to broadcast dates minimises the risk of cultural and geographical biases due to the extremely focused timeframes we have measured increased engagement in. While it is important to note that using Wikipedia page view data in this way serves only as a proxy for measuring actual audience engagement with topics, previous research indicates that Wikipedia page views undoubtedly provide quantifiable insight into the popularity of particular topics and public interest in them Roll et al., 2016). Wikipedia page views are a quick and easy metric for measuring engagement, however, we recognise this is not a fool-proof method for measuring engagement as topics and species with a high degree of familiarity to the public may not spur individuals to seek out further information (i.e. ...
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The greatest crises of our time are environmental. To combat the effects of climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental degradation will require the actions of all members of society. However, despite widespread consensus from the scientific community that human actions are driving this rapid environmental degradation, it remains unclear whether and to what extent the public is receiving and engaging with conservation messages. Natural history films have been suggested as one possible medium for generating awareness of conservation issues en masse but some environmental advocates have criticised these shows for lacking strong, focused conservation messaging. This study quantifies audience engagement with conservation themes and species depicted on screen in two BBC natural history super productions (Blue Planet II and Seven Worlds, One Planet) and a stand‐alone documentary with an explicit focus on conservation (Extinction: The Facts) by using big data analyses of Wikipedia page views during and after broadcast of each show and causal impact analysis. Our results indicate that natural history films are more effective at generating species awareness than transmitting conservation messages, but that audience engagement generated by conservation‐focused documentaries can be comparable to that generated by entire film series focused on natural history. With the ultimate goal of contributing to long‐term behavioural change, our results suggest that natural history films have the potential to drive mass audience engagement with conservation themes through better collaboration between filmmakers, conservationists and conservation messaging researchers. Finally, this study underscores how big data approaches can quantify the effectiveness of conservation messages across different mediums. Read the free Plain Language Summary for this article on the Journal blog. Read the free Plain Language Summary for this article on the Journal blog.
... Aichi Target 1). Over the last five years, the use of culturomic techniques in conservation studies has increased considerably, especially as a way of gauging public interest in protecting nature (McCallum and Bury, 2013;Papworth et al., 2015;Proulx et al., 2014;Troumbis, 2017), as well as in more specific components such as natural areas (Correia et al., 2018b;Do et al., 2015) and species Kim et al., 2014;Roll et al., 2016). ...
Article
Culturomics is an emerging area of study that explores human culture through the quantitative analysis of large digital bodies of text. Culturomics shows great potential for the study of public perceptions and engagement with nature and biodiversity, and thus to contribute to the assessment and monitoring of major conservation goals (e.g. Aichi Target 1). In order to realize the full potential of culturomic approaches for conservation applications, researchers must develop solutions for existing methodological issues. For example, the use of scientific binomial names in species assessments has been recently proposed as a means to account for linguistic challenges associated with vernacular names, such as synonyms and homonyms. However, scientific names can also be affected by scientific synonyms arising from changes in species nomenclature. Here, we focus on a culturomic assessment of internet content and evaluate the importance of considering scientific name synonyms in such assessments. For this, we estimated how much omitting taxonomic synonyms affected webpage retrieval for bird species. Results indicate that failing to consider synonyms affected the number of webpages retrieved for over half of the species considered. In some cases, such omissions were severe (over 50% of total webpages omitted) and increased with the number of synonyms identified. We discuss the challenges posed by the dynamic nature of taxonomy in efforts to evaluate public interest in species using culturomic approaches and suggest that future studies should always strive to identify and account for any existing synonyms to minimize potential problems.
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Reptilia Sauria Helodermatidae Gila Monster Heloderma suspectum Breeding Franz Hermann Troschel (1810-1882) Georg August Goldfuss (1782-1848) Caspar Garthe (1796-1874) Johann Jakob Kaup (1803-1873) Francis E. Sumichrast (1828-1882) Albert Carl Ludwig Gotthilf Günther (1830-1914) George Jackson Mivart (1827-1900) Mexico Edward drinker Cope (1840-1897) Robert Wilson Shufeldt (1850-1934) Johann Gustav Fischer (1819-1889) Anatomy Joseph Fayrer (1824-1907) Nevada Arizona New Mexico Utah California Heloderma suspectum Heloderma horridum Heloderma exasperatum Heloderma alvarezi Heloderma charlesbogerti Aridity Oophagy Bird eggs Bird nests Predation Turtle eggs Lampropeltis triangulum Snake eggs Road mortality Captivity Hibernation Venom Venom gland Venom composition Helodermatine Hyaluronidase Phospholipase A2 Serotonine Helothermine Gilatoxine Kallikreine Gilatide Helospectine Exendine First aid Osteoderm Tympanum Osteology Dentition Teeth Coloration Color mutation Ontogenic colour variation Sex determination Echography Reproduction Sexual maturity Chromosomes Caryotype Cytogenetic Incubation Eclosion Twins Vitellus Pathology Bacteria Infection Mycosis Parasite worms Instetinal parasites
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Conservationists increasingly use unstructured observational data, such as citizen science records or ranger patrol observations, to guide decision making. These datasets are often large and relatively cheap to collect, and they have enormous potential. However, the resulting data are generally “messy,” and their use can incur considerable costs, some of which are hidden. We present an overview of the opportunities and limitations associated with messy data by explaining how the preferences, skills, and incentives of data collectors affect the quality of the information they contain and the investment required to unlock their potential. Drawing widely from across the sciences, we break down elements of the observation process in order to highlight likely sources of bias and error while emphasizing the importance of cross-disciplinary collaboration. We propose a framework for appraising messy data to guide those engaging with these types of dataset and make them work for conservation and broader sustainability applications.
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This paper examines aspects of the relationship between (1) the recently typified form of biodiversity crime, (2) information made available to the public through the Internet, and (3) cultural dynamics quantified through info-surveillance methods through Culturomics techniques. Two conceptual models are proposed: (1) the building-up process of a biodiversity crime culturome, in a language, and (2) a multi-stage biodiversity conservation chain and biodiversity-crime activities relating to each stage. Crowd search volumes on the Internet on biodiversity crime-related terms and topics are used as proxies for the public’s interest measurement. The main findings are: (1) the concept of biodiversity-crime per se is still immature and presents low penetration to the general public; (2) biodiversity-crime issues, which are not recognized as such, are amalgamated in conservation-oriented websites and pages; and (3) differences in perceptions and priorities between general vs. ‘niche’ public with particular interest(s) in environmental issues- are discernable.
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We examine how Wikipedia data can be useful for political analysis. Our primary aim is to determine whether Wikipedia page views can be used as a strong proxy for name recognition. Name recognition is an important variable for political science research, but conducting surveys to discover the name recognition of politicians can be cost prohibitive for many researchers. To help researchers overcome this obstacle, we conducted a survey of Czech citizens asking them if they knew each of the 200 members of the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Republic. Then, we downloaded Wikipedia page information on these deputies. We found that name recognition is strongly correlated with page views on Wikipedia. The more well-known deputies have significantly higher page views on Wikipedia. We recommend that political science researchers requiring an appropriate proxy for name recognition use the free Wikimedia API, which offers page information data.
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Understanding public perceptions of biodiversity is essential to ensure continuedsupport for conservation efforts. Despite this, insights remain scarce at broaderspatial scales, mostly due to a lack of adequate methods for their assessment. Theemergence of new technologies with global reach and high levels of participationprovide exciting new opportunities to study the public visibility of biodiversity andthe factors that drive it. Here, we use a measure of internet saliency to assess thenational and international visibility of species within four taxa of Brazilian birds(toucans, hummingbirds, parrots and woodpeckers), and evaluate how much of thisvisibility can be explained by factors associated with familiarity, aesthetic appeal andconservation interest. Our results strongly indicate that familiarity (humanpopulation within the range of a species) is the most important factor drivinginternet saliency within Brazil, while aesthetic appeal (body size) best explainsvariation in international saliency. Endemism and conservation status of a specieshad small, but often negative, effects on either metric of internet saliency. Whilefurther studies are needed to evaluate the relationship between internet content andthe cultural visibility of different species, our results strongly indicate that internetsaliency can be considered as a broad proxy of cultural interest. Familiarity breeds content: assessing bird species popularity with culturomics. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/295869111_Familiarity_breeds_content_assessing_bird_species_popularity_with_culturomics [accessed Feb 26, 2016].
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This pioneering book explores the influence of human values on the willingness of individuals to pay for the conservation of individual wildlife species (and classes of these), to be for or against their survival, and to favour or oppose their harvesting. Clement Tisdell combines original theories, survey results and experimental findings to assess the economic benefit of conserving particular wild species and to suggest strategies for a sustainable future. With a detailed analysis of 25 species, covering the three classes (mammals, birds and reptiles), this book examines how variations in knowledge and social factors can influence individuals' evaluation of species. Moreover, economics and ecology are combined to propose sound policies for wildlife management and to provide estimates of the net economic benefit of conserving particular species. The first work to provide such extensive analysis of human values and conservation, this book is an essential resource for economists, ecologists and all those interested in wildlife management, environment and nature conservation.
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The present work provides an overview of the global use of reptiles in traditional folk medicine and the implications for conservation. The results demonstrate that at least 165 reptile species belonging to 104 genera and 30 families are used in traditional folk medicine around the world. Some species are used as sources of drugs for modern medical science. Of the reptiles recorded, 53% are included on lists of endangered species, demonstrating the importance of understanding such medicinal uses in the context of reptile conservation as well as the need for considering socio-cultural factors when establishing management plans directed towards the sustainable use of these reptiles.
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This experimental study examines how framing an animal species as endangered affects its perceived attractiveness and how an animal's perceived attractiveness affects support for its conservation. Undergraduate students were shown a flyer from a fictitious environmental organization pleading for the protection of either a bat or an ape. The flyer contained either no picture, a picture of an attractive member of its species, or a picture of an unattractive member of its species. For both species, an animal's attractiveness substantially increased support for its protection. There was also more support for saving the species that was larger in size and more resembled humans. In a second experiment, participants rated an unattractive animal as more attractive if it was framed as endangered. There was no such effect for an animal originally perceived as attractive. The implications of the results for environmental policy and conservation support are discussed.
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