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Ecología austral

versión On-line ISSN 1667-782X


COCHERO, Joaquín. AppEAR: A citizen science mobile app to map the habitat quality of continental waterbodies. Ecol. austral [online]. 2018, vol.28, n.2, pp.467-479. ISSN 1667-782X.

Citizen science, or participatory science, is the process by which the general public actively contributes with scientific projects. Citizen science projects have proliferated in the few last decades thanks to the Internet and are proving to be a great complement to the more “traditional” environmental monitoring efforts. AppEAR (an app to evaluate the aquatic habitats) states as its main objective to map the status of the habitat of continental waterbodies, with a primary focus on its shores and coasts, within a citizen science framework. It consists of a free mobile app that allows users to evaluate the habitat quality of rivers, streams, lakes and estuaries from their mobile devices, by means of questionnaires and photographs. The app also includes educational material and games, related to the characteristics and caring of the continental waterbodies. In its first year, the AppEAR project incorporated about 460 users who sent information of nearly 131 sampling sites throughout the country. Through their efforts, citizen scientists reported as their main environmental concerns the degradation of the land use around the sites, the quality of the riparian vegetation and the presence of debris or garbage. Even though it is important to recognize the limitation of these digital tools for massive data recollection for scientific purposes, they should be considered as a complement for the more traditional monitoring efforts, that can enrich the different stages in research projects.

Palabras clave : Android; App; Citizen science; Environmental education.

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