FenoDato looks for nature lovers who want to learn to make phenological observations and help scientists to study the impacts of climate change on plants and animals.
Source: Android description (translated)
Runs off line: partially
Last update: Android 05/05/2016
Website of the developer: CREAF / Unidad de Botánica de la Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona
Notes: article updated on 07/05/2016
FenoDato is a citizen science tool designed to enable users to register the nature’s adaptation to the different seasonal cycles and variations that climate change is introducing about these. This task is performed based on the phenology, science that studies the life cycle of living beings and their interaction with the seasons and weather changes.
The system created to enable this collaboration is based on the use of Twitter, social network through which the observations on the various stages of bloom or the sightings of a series of species selected as markers are shared. These species are olive, black locust, poppy, cherry, almond, holm oak, swallow, apple tree, Aleppo pine, peach tree, Spanish broom and rosemary.
The application has the following options, some of which link with the website itself:
- Crea un #FenoDato (create a phenology data), option to share an observation via Twitter, after identification and authorization through the personal account that each user could have in this social network. This tab links directly to the website. For the tweet incorporates all necessary information, two forms of participation have been provided: through an assistant, in which the filling of a number of fields is required, or directly using the Twitter platform, creating the tweet following a defined structure. Regardless of the method used, the tweet must include at least the species, phenophase (blooming, ripening of the fruit, etc.), location and date and, optionally, you can also add photos (keep in mind the 140 characters).
- Abrir el FenoMapa (open the map), where the different observations tweeted by users of the application are registered. The codification used refers to the first two letters of the scientific name (eg, sightings of barn swallow, Hirundo rustica, appear marked as “Hr”). The map allows a filtered search by species, user or time period.
- Índice de especies (index of species), section in which appear the species included as part of the project and which have been mentioned above. By clicking on each, you can see a sheet with the main characteristics of the species, photographs, a distribution map and a key to know regarding which phenophase the information is being collected (in the case of olive, you tweet when you see the flowers or when the stage of fruit ripening starts).
The application also incorporates a game about identification of species through photographs. It can be accessed from the icon that represents a leaf on the top of the home screen.
Images: Screenshots 18/04/2016. © FenoDato
As the effects of climate change increase, nature tends to adapt to the new pace, altering its usual life cycle. It is no longer unusual to see trees in bloom in winter or migratory species that each time return before (or no longer migrate). This situation is not only of natural environment, as it also affects agriculture. Thus, for example, it’s evident the change that growing seasons of crops are experiencing in some areas of Scotland. This adaptation is related to the evolution of the species. Although the term “evolution” usually implies a long period of time, the speed with which the changes occur is making that some animals such as the tawny owl accelerate its adaptation (the plumage has changed its color as snowfalls were lower)..
The registration of these changes is, therefore, essential to understand the effects that climate change is causing on biodiversity. However, and as the web of FenoDato remembers, these observations cannot be automated, so the cooperation of citizens is very important. In this regard, highlighting the use that FenoDato makes of a network such as Twitter, using this platform as a means to share observations and map them. However, it would be interesting to also allow the communication of sightings through forms or other channels with the aim of involving other volunteers who do not use Twitter. The fact that it’s necessary an Internet connection to send the tweet can also be an obstacle, because in some areas the connection still remains limited. Therefore, it would be useful to design a “collect data” option with subsequent synchronization. It also recommended a more visible access to the game because it goes a little unnoticed.