A peek at publications from this week that relied on citizen science covered topics of birds and bears.
1. Ikin K, Barton PS, Stirnemann IA, Stein JR, Michael D, et al. (2014) Multi-Scale Associations between Vegetation Cover and Woodland Bird Communities across a Large Agricultural Region. PLoS ONE 9(5): e97029. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097029
2. Wilton CM, JL Belant, and J Beringer. 2014. Distribution of American black bear occurrences and human-bear incidents in Missouri. Ursus 25:53-60.
3. Rolland J, F Jiguet, KA Jonsson, FL Condamine, H Morlon. 2014. Settling down of seasonal migrants promotes bird diversification. Proc R Soc B 281.
The authors Ikin and colleagues relied on bird watchers of the Canberra Ornithologists Group and found that birds benefited from mistletoe in woodland patches. The bird community, particularly birds of conservation concern, also benefited from more woody plants in the areas surrounding the patches where they lived.
The authors Wilton, Belant and Beringer relied on data from the Report A Bear Sighting program run by the Missouri Department of Conservation. The public contributed more than 1,000 bear sightings. These reports were challenging to analyze because they were anecdotal and further complicated because public effort over time vary with the amount of media attention the project received. Nevertheless, the authors use the data to make a case that black bears are re-colonizing forests across all of Missouri.
In the paper by Rolland and colleagues, they used the distribution range maps for over 9,000 species that BirdLife International had created from numerous data sources, including citizen science data. Over 80% of bird species are sedentary, which appears to be the ancestral state. The authors found that migratory behavior evolved multiple times during the evolutionary speciation of birds.
Thanks to citizen science, discoveries related to bird habitat, bird evolution, and black bear distribution were possible.
Remember: This is just a sample of citizen science contributions published in journals this week. Help me fill in the blanks by sending links of more papers reporting the results of research that relied on citizen science. Send to me via twitter @CoopSciScoop, to firstname.lastname@example.org, or put in the comments below.
Photo credit: Luca Galluzi (bear), JJ Harrison (Gang Gang Cockatoo)