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Four European countries will take part in the first stage

The Research Institute in Hunting Resources is spearheading the European project, MammalNet, on wild fauna and community science


The Research Institute in Hunting Resources is spearheading the European project, MammalNet, on wild fauna and community science


The Research Institute in Hunting Resources (IREC) which depends on the University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM), the regional government and the Higher Committee of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) is spearheading the community science project, MammalNet, an initiative in which four countries are taking part, aimed at involving the community in the data collection process for the distribution of mammals over their European habitats. With a simple mobile app, photos of animals that have been spotted along with the coordinates of where they were sighted can be uploaded. The head of the Campus for International Excellence, CYTEMA, Francisco Sáez, and the project coordinator, Joaquín Vicente Baños, spread the word about the project this morning.

An international consortium made up of researchers from eight European institutions, spearheaded by the IREC, have set in motion the MammalNet project (www.mammalnet.com) in order to assess the efficiency of community science on a large scale. Here, it focuses on the distribution of mammals over their European habitats.

Joaquín Vicente Baños, IREC researcher and European coordinator for the project, during the presentation at a press conference for MammalNet this morning on the Toledo campus, remarked on how important information provided by the community is in order to have detailed data which covers large geographical areas. He said: "we want the public to be involved, so that they can participate and feel part of the science creation process".

As a result, MammalNet has provided the public with a simple mobile app,"iMammalia", with which they can quickly upload photos of animals they have spotted along with the coordinates of where they were sighted. Additionally, with the apps Mammalweb and AGOUTI, participants can also provide the project with the data they have gathered (the latter is more professional and is for helping other researchers) and photos of species; and data captured by cameras can be uploaded, organized and identified.

The information these "community scientists" provide for either of the two apps will be registered for the project and subsequently analyzed in order to check how efficient the methodology is for use on wildlife.

Funded by the European Food Safety Authority(EFSA), this project which is at a pilot stage will be set in motion in Germany, Poland, Spain and Croatia, and other European countries will join at a later stage. It will run from October 2019 until May 2021, during which time the project aims to demonstrate how efficient community science is for gathering data on the distribution of wild mammals in Europe.

Community Science and MammalNet
Community science is an innovative way of enabling society to contribute to scientific research. It involves the public in the creation of reliable data and information which may be used by scientists and administrators. Community science aims to involve the public in scientific activities and there is a number of different ways they can do this: by sharing their general knowledge, by gathering information, with their tools, or other resources that may be useful in each situation.

Specifically regarding MammalNet, the contribution the public will make will help improve knowledge about wildlife ecology in order to assess the distribution and quantification of mammel populations, which will help to conserve species and their habitats and provide population reference values. That is, it will help manage and conserve wildlife, scientifically.

UCLM Communication Office Toledo, 28th of October 2019.

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