Thousands of citizens are amateur scientists as 1000 eyes definitely see more
I came upon this nice article recently and as I am a nature lover, I decided to tell you about this.
Volunteers and their achievements
A 16-year-old girl from the Canary Islands discovered 6 of November 2018, an asteroid while working on her home computer. Her professor helped Alejandra Artiles and used software to analyze the images from an American telescope.
A young man from the Asturias region of Spain, Jorge Alvarez, made a special photo with his mobile phone. He was the first person to send information to the program called Mosquito Alert. The mosquito he photographed was an Aedes Japonicus, and it was the first sighting of this mosquito in Spain.
This mosquito is the transmitter of terrible illnesses like Dengue, and different forms of encephalitis.
A few winters ago, an amateur ornithologist alerted the scientific community that the swallow was not migrating to then return to Cadiz in the spring. The fact is that the swallow was not leaving, and that is probably because of climate change.
these are 3 examples of where the normal burger (civilian) is contributing with his or her observations to scientific studies.
Mr. Francisco Sanz, who is the executive director of the Foundation Ibercivis says that often the volunteer is a genuine expert in his or her field.
A book for those who love nature
For the traveler or tourist, this pocket-sized book is the ideal companion. Spain is one of Europe’s top destinations for birdwatching. On the list are 300 birds you might encounter on your journey, and with this guide, you will be able to identify them.
How people became scientists
The pioneers were the bird observers. The program to observe the migratory birds in America was founded in 1883. In the ’50s Francisco Bernis and Jose Antonio Valverde mobilized hundreds of amateurs to document the concentrations of waterbirds in Spain.
Their work formed the basis for the protection of Donana National Park, the Ebro Delta, a world heritage site, and the Natural Park of Albufeira in Valencia.
In this video, you will pay a visit to Donana National park. It is well worth your time, and perhaps one day you will visit it in real life.
In 1954, the Spanish Society of Ornithology ( SEO ) was created. Many of the volunteers became members over the years. Today the society has 3.700 members and they take part in 12 active programs of SEO/Bird-life. They observe and register their observations thru applications on their computer and mobile phone.
These can be easy studies, like counting the birds they see, or more sophisticated ones such as alerting the communities of massive bird flocks which emigrate so those individuals involved with banding studies can mobilize and document the migration before the young birds continue on their way.
One does not have to be a specialist, but one has to be able to distinguish between the unique bird species. These volunteers are people who feel a love for their environment and want to help to preserve it. They donate freely of their time and resources to take part in these studies.
They pass the data which is collected on to the professionals of the. org and tested for suitability to be included in relevant scientific studies and other environmental issues.
The help of modern technology
Because most people have a computer nowadays, it has become a lot easier to be in contact. Individuals using smartphones, private telescopes, a weather station, and even binoculars have increased the number of observations and all this forms a human and technological network that surpasses the capability of the official groups.
They often come up with something, thru their investigations that had not been common knowledge before. They can report on a situation that scientists did not know about. All this is possible because of the network of thousands of extra eyes that observe their surroundings.
As in Europe, Spain has advanced and become more democratic in its form of investigation. The public science observatory was founded by Ibercivis with financing from the Spanish Science and Technology Foundation. Since 2011 over 200 projects have been registered and over 50.000 people have taken part.
Many and unusual projects
There are a large variety of projects available. Counting the sunspots, documenting when suicidal behavior is observed on the internet, observing the Iberian Wolf and counting how many there are, informing on the effects of earthquakes, observations on plagues, and reporting wildfires. Even reporting foul smells worldwide.
The list is much longer, but I think this will give you an idea of the different projects people collaborate with.
Some of these projects have to do with problems like the spreading of the flu. In Spain, there are 1000 people who signed up for this project and 25.000 people from 7 more European countries. People from Zaragoza University have created Gripe-Net. There you can place your observations on the flu in your surroundings.
Some famous people and their inventions
When you come to think of it, in old times scientists were wealthy men of leisure and amateurs. These were Individuals from the early part of the 20th century and earlier.
William Herschel was a musician who was also a hobby astronomer. In 1781 he discovered the planet Uranus with his simple telescope.
Then we have Benjamin Franklin. When the affairs of state left him some free time, he liked to invent things like the bifocal glasses and also the lightning rod. Have a look at the following video where 5 inventions by Benjamin Franklin are presented.
Albert Einstein wrote his General Theory of Relativity when he was working in a patent office as a pen pusher.
During most of history, the scientific body was composed of “gentlemen of means” who studied nature and the cosmos out of passion. Only later on it became a job for which they would receive a salary from universities or investigation centers.
We need to celebrate and honor the intrepid explorers and builders of our current scientific knowledge, but more importantly, we need to continue this into the 21st century. We all need to observe the conditions around our own minor part of the world and collaborate with the scientific community to keep our world the beautiful place it is.
This is especially important for our environment, which is subject to abuse and can use all the extra help it can get. Let’s keep our eyes open.
I have made a special page for you. It holds a collection of things that could be of your interest. Please visit Recommendations.
Source: Newspaper Sur, story by Ines Gallastegui
Photo Source: Pixabay
I would like to take you on a trip to different places in the world. You might find the following post of your interest too.
Observation is the first step in discovery. Even when such discoveries are accidental, observation plays a huge role in scientific discoveries. Both modern and ancient scientists would agree that without a good observatory practice, the foundation of scientific discoveries will never exist.
There is no playing down the importance of data gathered even by amateurs. This is a cool post regarding the salient role unsung heroes of the science world play.
Good Morning Olalekan,
Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment on my website. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?
It is important to go through life in an observant way. I discovered that starting on my Spanish farm in 1981.
By looking at nature which surrounds me I have learned a lot. Like for example toads, they are a protected species in Spain. Over the years one sees less of them. Because of the lack of rain I have not seen them this winter. They normally go to the big pond for the wedding in January. Soon there will be no toads anymore and I say this is due to climate change.
Thank you for this wonderful post. I completely agree with you on the point that people have to pay attention to their environment. If everyone will cooperate with scientists think how much more we could achieve in terms of progress. I believe that people can change the world for the better.
Good Morning Ainars,
Thank you for leaving a comment on my website. I hope you downloaded your free PDF?
I agree with you, the people, when they unite, can change the world. It is very important to keep an eye on what is happening in our immediate surroundings. We can alert the scientific institutions when something is not ok. Like that bigger harm can be avoided.
Thanks for writing this article on thousands of citizen who are amateur scientist and how all modern scientists come to play a role in this modern world.I love the beauty of nature too and all discovery from people of the past too, I appreciate their work I just hope their effort will not be in vain .because presently we are doing more harm than good to the nature they work so hard to preserve for us
Good Morning Ajibola,
Nice to see you again. Thank you for your comment.
You are right, our environment is suffering a lot as we harm it with our stupid actions. That is why it is so good to have normal citizens take care of it. This initiative is very important for the scientific community as the added data is a big help.
Great Content and Information!
What a concise and thorough article
Tons of value to be found on this post on amateur scientists offering valuable data.
This is a great and simple to follow guide. You laid it all out clearly and showed a series of examples that helped emphasize your various points. Many amateur scientists we have nowadays collect important information to help our environment Thanks for this eye opener
Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment on my website.
Nice to hear you find my article interesting. The normal citizen can be of big help to the scientific community.
I really enjoyed reading this article. It makes it clear that everyone can contribute to a better world. No one is too small to make a change in the world by being observative and sharing knowledge and experiences, how tiny the discoveries even seem to be.
Your posts are so very much encouraging. Thank you for caring for Mother Earth!
All the best,
Good afternoon Pernilla,
Thank you for stopping by again and leaving a comment. I do not have to tell you that you can download a free PDF right?
If we all do a little bit, on the whole, it will make a big change. My cousin in Holland told me she had participated in a European study where you would count the birds present in your garden. Sadly these type of studies show that every year there are fewer animals.
Nice to hear you like my posts. I hope to see you again.
I enjoyed this article very much and it even helped me to remember when I was in my mid-teens meeting an elderly farmer, back in Germany, who told me about the Moon phases and its impact on human and wildlife alike.
He told me and my Mother a lot, even when it is the best time to wash your cloth or to get rid of stains, where one usually will use an extra product to achieve good results, in his mind this wasn’t necessary.
I remember that my Mother wrote down a few things he mentioned and tried them out at home and I recall that she was quite impressed with the great results.
Unfortunately, I was too young then and didn’t appreciate the knowledge and wisdom this man had. I even thought, and yes, I am ashamed now that I did, what can he know he is “just” a farmer and has no degree of any kind. My Mother scolded me for thinking that way, she was a wise woman.
Now, I do appreciate all the information I can get from people who love to help and love to observe. We do need them and I do trust them, sometimes even more than the whole scientific profession.
Thank you for sharing
Good Morning Sylvia,
Nice to see you again. Thank you for comment.
Farmers were very wise people who lived in harmony with nature. Sadly we turned away from nature which caused a big disbalance in the human race. When we insisted on making man-made food our health also declined.
Here on my farm in the south of Spain, I take the moon phases in consideration especially when the yearly big cleaning and cutting is done in January. The bougainvillea, vines, and bushes and trees which get cleaning are only cut when the moon is in the right phase. From full moon toward the new moon is the right time for that.
I wrote a post on the moon phases as I have a very nice German book. It is a collection of 400 years of Bavarian farmers knowledge.
I was surprised so many people participate in observing happenings in their immediate surroundings. It is quite amazing how helpful this collected data is for scientific studies.
Hi Taetske, I am amazed not on the work you do to bring information because you do a wondrous work through your articles.
But what was an eye-opener were the travels of the mosquito that carries Dengue or better said the tiger mosquito? This is the first time that I have seen this creature close up, but I have witnessed Denque first hand.
My understanding was that it is a topical bug and was found in South America and is traveling up into the northern tropical regions of the US. I was bitten in Costa Rica and was down for over a month. To date, the mark where this insect bit me still bothers me.
The poison that this creature injects into your system attacks the nervous system. What are the symptoms?
!- very sensitve eye site. Your eyes will not take the light it hurts so bad. Just by opening the door to my room I had to yell please close the door
2-headaches were awful and you would only feel better lying down. If you sit up you become dizzy and your whole body trembles.
3- every muscle in your body aces and the only way you feel any better is by laying down. All your energy is drained out of your body only sleep would help. It feels like every bone in your body is breaking
4- when the poison leaves the body it leaves through your pores, leaving huge red blotches on the skin. It could occur on the back or chest, mine occurred on the legs from the knees to the ankle bone. It feels like your skin is on fire. That occurred when I was feeling a bit better and finally recovering.
It is very aggressive and there have been cases that death occurs. To those that have been bitten more than once because it causes internal bleeding.
In all my work I have been doing on health I have found that Dengue Virus has played a large part in my health condition especially in the muscles of the legs. The pain in my legs had been very bad to a point that I couldn’t walk it traveled up the legs to the lower back and then to my middle of the back hips and thighs. It was logged in all the muscle tissues.
It is only recently that I have been able to identify the cause and cure it through a Chinees method called PaedaLejin that works on the Meridians of Acupuncture.
I am grateful to have this opportunity to share this information. All the work that you do here Taetske is of importance to get information out to the general public. Thank you.
Always a better way
Good afternoon Linda,
Thank you so much for your long comment.
The photo I have on my post is of the Tiger Mosquito, https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/mosquitoes/asian-tiger-mosquitoes/ this insect has been in Spain already for quite some years. The Aedes Japonicus has now also been sighted in Spain. http://www.wrbu.org/mqID/mq_medspc/AD/AEjap_hab.html As far as I understand this, I am after all not an expert in mosquitos, these 2 are family and both dangerous.
After reading how awful it was to be bitten by this mosquito I am very thankful it has not happened to me. Have you ever thought of doing a super detox cure?
Good to hear you are so much better thanks to the discovery of Chinees healing methods. Let’s face it, these people were much closer to nature and have age-old healing traditions we can all learn from.
I hope you downloaded your free PDF, you can choose any you like.
Taetske, I just thought I would drop a note on your question about detox. And I promise it would be too long.
Since I have been working in bettering my health and that of my family, we have put into action a detox that we do every day. I have found that there are too many toxins that we take into our system every day.
From the food, water, air, pharmaceutical drugs ex-ex. the list goes on. Most people don’t realize that very harmful substances can and will load in your body for very long periods of time which most people call today old age setting in.
Age will always be there and a factor that we all have but we can age gracefully. But those of us that have been taking pharmaceuticals for a very long time causing other side effects. Do experience old age much more than others. I see it every single day.
I could go on and on but I won’t but I will say that it is imperative that we detox every single day and there are forms of doing so without the aggressive effects that people put themselves through with the wrong information. This comes to my saying there is always a better way Linda
Good evening Linda,
Thank you for your comment. Nice to see you again.
I find it great you think so much about your health and that of your family. As we eat mainly healthy things we are in quite a good shape for our age. The last time I was in bed was at the end of 2000. Since then I have not been sick anymore. I suppose that is a good sign.
In total, I think I am in better shape than 30 years ago. I am feeling better and we should not forget our cells renew.
These examples you put forth here just go to show that one does not need to be a “professional” discover important information about our Earth and the changes that are taking place. Even a casual bird watcher can notice changes in bird behavior and pass them on to the Spanish Society of Ornithology or other ecological organizations.
It’s good that the organizations themselves are realizing how much us regular people can contribute to their research!
Good Morning Cynthia,
Thank you for your comment. You deserve a medal for being such a faithful visitor of my website.
I think it is very praiseworthy that so many people spend part of their time to take part in observing what is happening around them. The information can be very helpful to scientists. In case of emergency situations like fires, help will come sooner, saving human life and flora and fauna.
I really love this website, such interesting information. I often wondered how one would get involved in projects that follow nature, and things like that. You mentioned public science observatory in Spain, would that be the same in UK, would we have a public science observatory here? And then do you go on their website and look for available projects? Love this post and your site. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Good Morning Debbie,
Thank you for your visit and for your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF? Tulip widget.
As to your question, I tried to find something similar to the Spanish public science observatory, but what came up is on Astronomy and things related to that. This is in Edinburgh and combines 3 organizations.I do not think that is the same, so you will have to investigate some more.
I couldn’t agree more with you, Taetske, about amateur scientists. From time immemorial, people would learn new things by observing the behavior of nature. Both flora and fauna there are changes happening simply because evolution does not stop.
It’s these small observations done by amateurs that help scientists to come up with great inventions. I really like the content of your website, its very unique I must say. Well done.
Good Morning Raymond,
By observing, we learn. When I was a small girl living in Holland, my parents would take me on trips to discover nature. They taught me to have an eye for detail. Now, living on my organic farm in Spain since 1981, I have been able to observe and enjoy all the happenings on my property.
Nice to hear you like my website. Thank you for your comment. I hope you downloaded your free PDF? Tulip widget.