Citizen Science Research : A Focus on Historical Whaling Data and a Current Marine Mammal Citizen Science Project, Whale mAPP Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/c247dw86x

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  • Citizen science work has built the foundation of much of our knowledge on regional-scale large cetacean spatial patterns through historical whaling data. Historical whaling data on sperm whales was used as an example to show the type of ecological questions large-scale, long-term citizen science datasets can address. Results from the study revealed a seasonally driven association of sperm whales with shallow, presumably biologically productive, seamounts off northeastern New Zealand. Similar modeling work could be presumably accomplished with current marine mammal citizen science efforts, such as the mobile application Whale mAPP. Yet, the success of Whale mAPP is dependent on if the citizen science project is effective at recruiting volunteers, maintaining volunteers, providing an educational environment, interpreting biases apparent in the dataset, and producing data that can be used for research. Thereby, the spatial, species, and user biases associated with collected Whale mAPP data were evaluated by using home range estimates for expert and novice data, and comparing the results to previous marine mammal studies. Results suggest that both expert and novice users’ had greater survey effort near towns, the recruitment center, and common travel routes. Species bias was found to be different between marine mammal ecological distribution groups, requiring varying sample sizes to accurately predict their home ranges. Furthermore, two surveys were used to evaluate if the educational components added to Whale mAPP achieved various informal education goals. Surveys were also used to interpret user perception and motivation for participating, and suggested revisions for the citizen science project. Overall, volunteers were motivated to participate based on pre-existing interests in marine mammals and the ocean, and enjoyed the added educational components. Yet, these added components were not enough to change users' marine mammal conservation knowledge, only to improve novice users' identification skills. The top revisions, adding detailed behavioral descriptions and allowing users to revise past sightings, are now being implemented and integrated into the new version of Whale mAPP, which will be released in January 2016. Overall, results from these studies will provide insight to future Whale mAPP development, data analyses, and can be applied broadly to other citizen science and marine mammal studies as well.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Julie Kurtz(julie.kurtz@oregonstate.edu) on 2015-12-07T16:54:35Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 2 license_rdf: 1223 bytes, checksum: d127a3413712d6c6e962d5d436c463fc (MD5) HannCourtneyH2015.pdf: 10595373 bytes, checksum: 0421f3e2a838449c4f72246169106277 (MD5)
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