Humans share the Earth with a spectacular variety of life. Since 1753, when Carl Linnaeus began our modern system of giving organisms two-part Latin names, almost two million species of eukaryotes have been identified and named. However, most of the millions of organisms on the planet have not yet been catalogued. The most recent biodiversity estimates suggest that more than 80 percent of species remain unknown to science — and that doesn’t even count bacteria! Lack of data impairs our ability to responsibly manage and conserve the planet’s resources. With more than one million species on the verge of extinction, we need to act rapidly or they will be gone forever — and will remain mostly unknown.
Priority will be given to citizen science projects that do one or more of the following:
Support citizen scientists to conduct inventories, surveys, and/or research in areas that demonstrate a likelihood for new species discoveries due to species endemism and richness, especially where these have been highly damaged or threatened by human activities.
Support the rediscovery of species where there is evidence a species thought to be extinct may still exist.
Support the surveying of and primary data collection on species occurrences and abundances for species and regions with limited existing data.
Encourage students and other citizen scientists who engage with these projects to build the attitudes, skills, and knowledge necessary to become stewards of the planet and contribute to solving real-world issues.
For citizen science proposals, participation and data generation are of equal importance. Participation must be free for all users and cannot incorporate for-profit activities. Technologies might include mobile applications, web-based applications, or hardware and sensors with direct citizen science usage. Projects should create learning experiences through the collection of data and/or ground-truthing of data relevant to the trends or status of threatened, poorly understood, and undiscovered species.