Tracking biological invasions
In order to prevent biological invasions in our surface waters, one must understand them first. The more information is available about the temporal and spatial distribution of animal or plant species, the more effective measures can be realized. Since the spread of aquatic organisms occurs along the network of surface waters, it is a process that proceeds more rapidly and less visible than on land. This implies a large-scale and transboundary challenge for research and species conservation. As a consequence, keeping track of such processes is a labour-intensive effort that can hardly be managed by scientists alone and that requires interregional as well as international cooperation. You can support us in the collection of the necessary field data:
Become a researcher!
This approach is called citizen science and can be defined as citizens creating new knowledge. It is based on the principle that more is possible when many individuals work together than for one individual alone. When many inquisitive individuals make observations at different times and at different surface waters for a joint project they create a unique abundance of data for research. This allows an early detection of (new) invasive organisms and a thorough assessment of endangerment status for native species. However, citizen science does not only serve as tool for data collection, but also raises awareness of the topic and provides an exciting opportunity for sustainable environmental education based on learning by experiencing. Aside from the project MoBI-aqua numerous other initiatives also discovered this potential and encourage people to help shape the current research landscape.
App-based nature conservation
In this context, a progressive web app (PWA) called “MoBI-aqua” was developed in the framework of a Czech-German research project of the same name. A PWA is an application on a mobile basis which resembles the typical user experience of apps regarding functionality and interface. PWAs are web-based and therefore independent of app stores, but can be installed on mobile devices and can also be used offline. The MoBI-aqua PWA allows committed citizens to take action by identifying aquatic organisms in waters in the North of the Czech Republic and Saxony, Germany – with a potential for future geographic expansion of the application range. An identification of observed crustaceans and fish is possible up to species level and molluscs as well as other invertebrates will be added in the future. The users document their finds and send them to scientists from the project for verification. The verified finds are then entered into a data base which is analysed and updated continuously. Thus, each observation becomes a building block of the project and each PWA user becomes an honorary researcher providing their individual contribution for the protection of native aquatic life.
We would be happy if you took part in our survey on the use of the app so that we can improve it further.