IREC is leading the European project MammalNet ( www.mammalnet.com ) to encourage the participation of citizens, scientists and wildlife managers in the collection of data on the distribution of wild mammals.
Around 250 different species of mammals live in Europe, from shrews to beavers, lynxes, moose and wolves, but the information available on these species is still very small and fragmented. Scientists can now take advantage on the help of citizens who carry out different activities in nature; mountaineers, cyclists, naturalists, hunters and fishermen, mushroom gatherers and other groups linked to open spaces can become allies of nature and science.
MammalNet gives continuity to the work started in April 2017 through the project developed by the consortium ENETWILD, (www.enetwild.com) whose objective was to collect and generate the first data on the distribution and abundance of wildlife based on traditional sources of documentation, but not citizen science.
Now, the next step MammalNet will address is to expand the geographic space where data are collected throughout Europe, and, given the large area of territory to which we are referring, it is necessary to approach the project with new perspectives more collaborative through unconventional data sources. To this end, citizen science can be an effective tool. It requires the collaboration of citizens and the involvement of all those groups or people who can generate data, very valid, but generally do not reach the scientific community. In order to facilitate the transfer of the data, some easy-to-use applications are made available to citizens that allow them to send the data to MammalNet in just a few 'clicks'. The citizen will thus participate in international scientific research that promotes open science and that in the future will give clues on how best to address the management and conservation of wildlife in Europe.
The web applications and tools will be available to citizens of all countries and allow you to send photographs or geolocation data to the MammalNet platforms in an easy way. The collection of these data will help to broadly map the distribution of species and better understand the behaviour and status of mammal populations. In addition, the citizen will have the opportunity, in a collaborative way, to identify and validate the species present in the photographic material provided by other users through our web tools.
How can you participate?
Citizens can participate in the scientific project by providing the data they can collect from mammals living in their natural habitat. To this end, applications for mobile devices will be made available, as well as a web access with scientific tools that have already been developed and tested:
- The project website (www.mammalnet.com) gives access to all available applications, has online species identification guides with photos and maps of the potential distribution of the species and where there are already confirmed records of the species. It also has games and contests that encourage learning and participation in social networks.
To facilitate participation and promote awareness of the environment and care of the environment, the project will maintain active accounts on several social networks MammalNet.ESP Twitter @mammalnetEsp and Instagram @mammalnet.esp), so that participants can have a direct communication channel to consult questions or comment on aspects that may arise in relation to the initiative and its development.
- iMammalia: is an application to record observations obtained through mobile phones. Download from play google on app store.
It allows the user to register the presence of animals or their signs in the field using the mobile phone, informing about the location and date of the sighting. The user can provide species identification information, you can attach photos to the register to allow its validation or for experts to help you identify those who have doubts.
- MammalWeb is a web platform that facilitates the management of photo-trapping images and the identification of species by citizens.
It allows users to register as "trackers" and / or "spotters". Trackers can share collected images with photo-trapping cameras, and viewers can help by sorting their own or other users' photos.
- Agouti: web platforms that facilitate the management of photo-trapping images with a profile aimed at researchers and natural resource managers, promoting open science and collaboration between researchers and citizens.
This tool facilitates the work of information management that researchers need to organize and analyze data and especially promotes that this type of information is shared openly promoting open science and collaboration between researchers
All these tools will allow the registration and validation of data collected on mammals and will improve the knowledge we have about these species. These data will help to properly conserve and manage mammal populations and biodiversity based on scientific evidence.