BDInsight – September 2020

Spring has sprung and biomapping has begun! Here in the southern hemisphere we welcome back the arrival of several migrant bird species. Have you seen any of late? Please remember to upload your photos to BirdPix in the Virtual Museum.

BDI Citizen Scientist Hours

Lockdown, although not the best experience, has certainly brought the citizen science community closer in several ways. Over the past few months we have held regular virtual meetings, on Zoom, and connected the citizen science family from all over Africa. It is often while in the midst of a ‘disaster’ that wonderful opportunities arise. The BDI Citizen Scientist Hours have been a great way to connect scientists and citizens across the African continent.

During these hour events we have three speakers, each giving a 15 minute talk. The topics are always varied and informative and roughly fall within the categories of ecology, wildlife conservation, environmental studies, biology, social science, urban ecology, wildlife management, statistics, taxonomy, nature appreciation and environmental education. We are always looking for volunteers, so if you are keen to give a talk during a BDI Citizen Scientist Hour, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

You can catch up on all our previous Citizen Scientist Hours by visiting our YouTube Channel

September Citizen Science Week

Our first Citizen Science Week for the 2020/21 season was held from 19 to 27 September 2020. Below is a table showing a record breakdown per Virtual Museum project. In total, citizen scientists snapped and mapped 4604 records on African biodiversity during the Week. Well done!

VM ProjectRecords

During one of our BDI Virtual BioBASHES, Les Underhill took us through some of the interesting stats of the September Citizen Science Week. You can view his talk below:

We have Citizen Science Weeks planned for every month of the 2020/21 season! So don’t miss out. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for the event dates and details.

BestSeptember for the Virtual Museum

Team Virtual Museum added 9,495 records to species distribution maps in September. That is a fantastically large number in comparison with the previous BestSeptember of 6,972 records. We exceeded the target, set in 2018, by an inflation-beating 36%. That is a huge achievement, BioMAPpers, well done.

At the end of September, the total number of records for 2020 so far is already ahead of where it was at the end of October last year. So far, there are 84,458 records for 2020. At the end of October last year there were 83,812. We are a whole month ahead!

We are aiming to achieve two goals. Continuously “refresh” old records with new ones. This provides evidence that the species still persists in a grid cell. And secondly, we are aiming to make the species lists for every grid cell more comprehensive.

The target for BestOctober was set in 2017. It is 7,438 records. (In both October 2018 and October 2019, it was very dry. Submissions, especially to LepiMAP and OdonataMAP were small as a result. That is why we go all the way back to 2017 for BestOctober.)

Megan Loftie-Eaton
Megan Loftie-Eaton
Megan is our communications, social media and citizen science coordinator. Prior to her work for the BDI, she coordinated OdonataMAP, the Atlas of African Odonata. A citizen science project run by the Animal Demography Unit, University of Cape Town and funded by the JRS Biodiversity Foundation. She also coordinated LepiMAP, which is the Atlas on African Lepidoptera. Megan is passionate about biodiversity conservation. She is a firm believer in the power of citizen science and getting the public involved in nature conservation.