INSIGNIA-EU – the citizen scientist’s opinion counts too!

In one of the recent blog entries, we talked about the different stages of participation of volunteers in a citizen science study. This time, we want to address that the form of involvement in a citizen science study can also be very different.

Let’s talk about three different categories of citizen science studies, that are described in literature and to whom the INSIGNIA-EU can be allocated (Bonney et al., 2009, see also Table 1).

Contributory projects: Typically, scientists design the study and the public is primarily involved by collecting data.

Collaborative projects: Scientists generally design the study, the public is involved by not only collecting the data, but also takes part in evaluating the study-setup, help analyzing data or is part of the dissemination process.

Co-created projects: Scientists work together with the public to design a study and at least a part of the volunteers is involved in all steps of the study process.

Continue reading “INSIGNIA-EU – the citizen scientist’s opinion counts too!”

Sjef’s visit in Graz and trip to two Austrian citizen scientists

Past Friday, Sjef van der Steen visited the Uni Graz Natco team Kristina Gratzer and Robert Brodschneider at the University of Graz in Austria.
We had one full day of activities together.
The day started with the sampling at the university’s own apiary. Sjef turned out to be a great assistant in the sampling process.
After we stored all samples accordingly, we visited a nearby restaurant for lunch and discussed the further program of the day.
The first goal was to visit Josef, one of the Austrian citzen scientists near Graz. We decided to take the country road, passing some small cities, woods,  loads of farming lands,  and even former study sites of Sjef.

Continue reading “Sjef’s visit in Graz and trip to two Austrian citizen scientists”

7th Austrian Citizen Science Conference 2022 or dear national coordinators

Citizen Science – why not?

This was the topic of the 7th Austrian citizen science conference held end of June in Dornbirn visited by researchers from Austria, Switzerland and Germany. Citizen science is scientific research partly being done by non-professionals, which are nonetheless experts and/or enthusiasts in a specific field.

Of course, the Austrian partners of the INSIGNIA-EU project from the University of Graz did not miss the opportunity to be a part of this event. They presented the valuable volunteer work of beekeepers acting as citizen scientists in projects like INSIGNIA or INSIGNIA-EU.

One of the topics covered by several presentations and discussions at the conference was the motivation of volunteers to participate in scientific research. Psychologist Nicola Moczek presented a conceptual model of causes of sustained volunteerism. Aim of this post is to appeal to all national coordinators, who will be joining the INSIGNIA-EU community in the upcoming year, to internalize these principles.

The four stages of participation include ‚Awareness of opportunity‘, ‚Decision to participate‘, ‚Initial participation‘ and ‚Sustained participation‘ (see Figure 1). To recruit beekeepers as citizen scientists they first need to be aware of the opportunity to participate in this project. So, we publicise that we are looking for motivated beekeepers that want to participate in our project in beekeeping magazines or on social media. Maybe some national coordinators already have a network of dedicated beekeepers. Perfect, kindly ask them if they want to volunteer. To support their decision to participate we explain why their contribution is important to perform this large-scale study. We study the environment with the help of honey bees foraging on large areas and with the help of beekeepers sampling the hives. Make beekeepers aware they are part of a community of citizen scientists volunteering with their unique abilities to make the research possible. They will be trained to take samples from their locations in a standardized way – our team of researchers in the laboratories guarantees to give their best to analyse the samples, inform citizen scientists and draw the right conclusions from the data. As project coordinators we want to motivate beekeeper citizen scientists to sustain their participation. We can reach this by clear communication and best support during the study.

Figure 1. Model of Influence for participation in citizen science projects by Penner (2002), adapted by and cited from West et al. (2016) in Geoghegan et al. (2016). Additions by Moczek, 2019. (Moczek et al., 2021)

 

Here are some impressions of the time in Dornbirn:

Continue reading “7th Austrian Citizen Science Conference 2022 or dear national coordinators”

A full sampling round on video

The first sampling round is behind us and in the course of this, we were able to familiarize ourselves with the sampling materials and the sampling process.

The pilot study in 2022 is relatively complex and involves many different methods, that the participating beekeepers have to engage with.

Because pictures are known to say more than 1000 words, we made a video of the sampling and uploaded it to YouTube. This should serve as a supplement to the picture manual and hopefully increases the understanding of the course of the pilot study.

Since the pollen trap of the hives was still closed at the time of sampling, the pollen sampling is not included in the video, but will be added later on.

 

The video can be watched through the following LINK.

 

Kristina Gratzer

C*Sci2022 presented by the Citizen Science Association

 

This year, the C*Sci2022 conference will be held online from May 23-May 26. Registered parties will be able to join interesting discussions and have access to more than 100 posters and douzens of talks about a variety of citizen science projects around the world.

The opening keynote will be held by Dr. Mónica Ramírez-Andreotta, who will give a talk on “Cultivating Science, Justice, and Action”

Of course, the INSIGNIA-EU team will also be part of the conference by presented a poster about the project (dowload the PDF poster here –> INSIGNIAPoster)

Be sure to sign up and learn more about citizen science.

Link to the conference website: https://citizenscience.org/c-sci-2022/csci2022-program-details/

 

Kristina Gratzer and Robert Brodschneider

Finally! The INSIGNIA-EU Pilot study has started

After all the time, the INSIGNIA-EU team has spent for the preparations, we have reached the moment for celebration of the INSIGNIA-EU pilot study start 2022. 

Today, May 19th until Sunday, May 22 marks the very first phase of the pilot study’s sampling process – the installation period.

Within this time period, a total of 15 participating citizen scientist beekeepers from Austria, Denmark and Greece will install the first matrices. Those will stay in the test hives for two weeks and be sampled within the sampling period of sampling round 1 (SR01).

Austria prepared a short, video guidance for the installation period:  Continue reading “Finally! The INSIGNIA-EU Pilot study has started”

Snack boxes for the team to enjoy the last meeting

On upcoming Friday, the Insignia team will meet virtually one last time to celebrate the successfull INSIGNIA study. And what do you need to have a good party? RIGHT! Snacks and drinks. Therefore, the Danish team members Flemming and Ole had the idea to ask all of the team members to send them typical snacks or drinks from their countries. Flemming and Ole further compiled them into one snack box and send one such box to each of us.

The result speaks for itself. 16 delicious snacks and drinks from 11 European countries in one box.

I can’t wait to actually taste them on Friday.

By Kristina Gratzer

New publication on pollen preservation methods for ITS2 metabarcoding

Look up for latest INSIGNIA paper, that was recently published in the Springer journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. In this paper, we assessed how different methods of storing freshly-collected pollen from traps would influence its botanical identification by metabarcoding. We found out that the most citizen-scientist-friendly method of storing pollen with silica gel works very well for downstream metabarcoding applications. This finding will greatly facilitate future citizen-science studies.

Link to publication: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10661-021-09563-4

By Andreia Quaresma and M. Alice Pinto

Citizen Science briefly explained – German

What is Citizen Science and what has it to do with INSIGNIA?

Kristina Gratzer from the University of Graz explains in a mini-interview (German). More videos will follow.

English translation: 

Helmut: “Dear Kristina, what does citizen science mean?”

Kristina: “Very briefly, citizen science includes scientific projects that are either carried out completely or, in our case, with the help of laypersons.”

Helmut: “You conduct bee science… Have you experience with citizen science?”

Kristina: “Yes. Currently, we are working in a European Union project called Insignia. There, 82 beekeepers from 10 European countries bi-weekly have taken samples from their own bee colonies, Those samples were processed and further analysed for pesticides and pollen diversity in labs in Spain, Greece and Portugal. Just imagine, doing such large-scale sampling all by yourself and without the volunteers, this would be quite difficult and takes a lot of time.”

Helmut: “That means citizens are able to support science?”

Kristina: “Yes absolutely and the co-working is also enriching.”

By Kristina Gratzer

The INSIGNIA publication list is getting longer and longer…

Our new publication gives an overview of the INSIGNIA project and its citizen science approach, which was also presented during the 2020 Austrian Citizen Science Conference. 

If you are interested, enjoy reading.

The article is freely accessible through:

Brodschneider, R., Gratzer, K.,  Carreck, N.L., Vejsnaes, F., van der Steen, J. (2021) INSIGNIA: Beekeepers as citizen scientists investigate the environment of their honey bees. Proceedings of Austrian Citizen Science Conference, 14-16 September 2020, Vienna, Austria. Proceedings of Science, 393. https://doi.org/10.22323/1.393.0019

By Kristina Gratzer