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Austin R Mast
Professor

Florida State University

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Presentation

Try This at Home—Citizen Science Brings into Sharper Focus our Biodiversity Baseline
Audience: Adults
Description: Citizen Science is public engagement in scientific research—engagement that is enabling data collection at unprecedented scales to address pressing issues. For example, over 50,000 people have shared nearly a million biodiversity observations through iNaturalist. These present-day observations can be compared to the roughly 1 billion specimens from US museums documenting the diversity and distribution of organisms in the past 300 years. However, as much as 80% of the data associated with those specimens languishes in cabinets, not yet in digital form and available online for research, education, and policy decisions. Florida State University's Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium is a leader in the development of projects that accelerate digitization through public engagement. I will discuss several of these initiatives, including a global, 4-day transcription blitz planned for Fall 2015 in collaboration with the Smithsonian, the Australian Museum, the Paris Herbarium, and others. Furthermore, I will provide guidance on how citizen scientists can maximize their contributions to sharpening the focus of our biodiversity baseline. FSU's Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium is a collection of over 220,000 plant specimens that document the distribution and natural variation of the 2,400 species of flowering plants, ferns, conifers, and cycads found in northern Florida—one of North America's biodiversity hotspots.

Keywords: Biodiversity
Citizen Science
Ecology
Museum
Duration: 1 hour or less
Fee: Expenses Only

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