Citizen Science for Biodiversity (BBioDiv)

In many subject areas, scientific results are available for solutions to problems, yet society and political actors do not take them into account for the implementation of mitigation measures. Closing this research-implementation gap is of utmost urgency, especially in the face of the global climate and biodiversity crisis. An important reason for this gap is the absence of citizen involvement in scientific processes as well as a lack of communication between science, society and politics. One way to mitigate these deficits is "citizen science," i.e. the societal participation in designing and implementing scientific research. There is immense potential for citizen science in data-hungry research fields that rely on long time series. One of the citizen science’s main fields is research on biodiversity as it provides valuable contributions to debates on sustainability and informs policies on nature conservation and environmental protection.

The aim of project BBiodiv is to establish long-term structures that connect citizen science actors at the interface of research, education and conservation. Three project partners, the Conservation Biology Department at the University of Göttingen, the Forum Wissen Göttingen with its Biodiversity Museum and – one of the largest nationwide citizen science actors – the Dachverband Deutscher Avifaunisten (DDA) will collaborate on three project modules: i) A better anchoring of citizen science and science communication in university teaching, including improvements in the teaching of species identification and natural history skills; ii) The joint development of participatory projects at eye level with interested citizens for the documentation of biodiversity changes over time in relation to long-term land-use and climate change; iii) The use of citizen science data generated in the project for informing environmental policies. Through an innovative combination of classical (museum collections, fieldwork) and novel methods (e.g. artificial intelligence for species identification), the project also aims to improve the digital competency levels of participating citizens and students.

By means of connecting science, knowledge transfer and implementation-oriented projects on a regional as well as national level, we will provide an impulse to further drive the integration of citizen science as an effective model in other research fields and institutions, and thereby will generate a high degree of scalability. As the project brings the important and substantial experience of citizen scientists and NGOs into the university environment, it will thus increase the resilience of university teaching and research.

This project is funded by the VolkswagenFoundation Project Nr. 9D212 in the funding line “Pioneer Projects – Impetus for the German Research System”.

Involved researchers: Johannes Kamp, Christoph Bleidorn, Maria Teresa Molina Aguado, Jakob Katzenberger (DDA), Kora Baumbach & Benjamin Bühring (Forum Wissen), Florian Goedecke