Community and citizen science: Inviting the public into UC ANR research

Glenda Humiston
2021 California Agriculture  
C ommunity and citizen science (CCS) is an exciting approach to enhance research activities while also expanding community engagement. It advances the work of professional scientists, engages and educates amateur scientists and benefits society by reducing scientific illiteracy -all while creating greater awareness of the crucial work that the University of California and other research institutions perform. This issue of California Agriculture reports on a variety of research projects that
more » ... t never have happened without the involvement of community and citizen scientists. For example, in a project described by Grosholz et al. (page 40, this issue), community scientists working in a Marin County lagoon have helped control populations of the European green crab, an invasive species whose effects on native shellfish are devastating. The community scientists, working on the project for nearly a decade now, have collected data from a large network of crab traps and in some cases have allowed researchers access to private property. Their monitoring work has enabled scientists to develop crab management strategies that have reduced the crabs' population by 70% to 80%. According to researchers, maintaining European green crab populations at this level will, over time, allow for restoration of the lagoon habitat and allow native species to return to abundance. Perhaps most impressively, this ongoing project is now managed almost entirely by community volunteers. The relationship between professional scientists and community scientists, however, is a two-way street. Because CCS projects allow ordinary people to get their hands dirty in scientific research and begin to understand how science really works, volunteers gain a deeper understanding of the world around them and the specific conditions that exist in their
doi:10.3733/ca.2021a0008 fatcat:qafamxnhl5fdzejj2ewj4e633q