INtegration of CItezen SciEnce and standardised survey data to assess biodiversity dynamics. Project funded by H2020-MSCA-COFUND-2018; UNA4CAREER (2022-2025).
Global biodiversity is decreasing rapidly as a result of multiple human pressures. Paradoxically, as species dwindle, data about them are being generated at an unprecedented rate, thanks to the rapid growth of citizen science. Because efficient and robust monitoring schemes are costly to maintain over large areas and many years, citizen science has the power to transform global biodiversity monitoring and research. However, the unsystematic way that citizen science data are collected create challenges that make it difficult to assess how reliable they can be for biodiversity monitoring. This situation usually obligates us to select between small quantities of structured monitoring data and large amounts of citizen science data, impeding us to disentangle the links between population processes and the multiple global environmental threats. This project will integrate structured monitoring data, citizen science data and cutting-edge quantitative modelling tools to improve our understanding of the dynamics and drivers of species occurrence and abundance over broad spatial scales and inform the potential use of all available current-day data for assessing future risk on biodiversity. In particular, we will achieve this goal by using local structured field survey data to 1) develop reliable estimates on species' distribution and population dynamics, 2) use those to identify biases inherent to citizen science data and finally 3) explore the advantage of integrating structured survey data with citizen science into a single model to provide more robust species distribution and abundance estimates across broad spatial extents. Overall, results of this project will not only advance in ecological science but will also result in better guidelines and policies to develop reliable estimates of species trends and range sizes for population assessments, a significant contribution to the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.