SCIENCE AND THE PUBLIC

Citizen scientists fight an oak killer

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Science  22 May 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6237, pp. 877
DOI: 10.1126/science.348.6237.877-d

Citizen scientists at work

CREDIT: DOUGLAS SCHMIDT/UC BERKELEY

Sudden oak death (SOD), caused by a fungus-like pathogen, has killed millions of trees in California and Oregon. In a recent example of the value of citizen science for both research and the public good, Meentemeyer et al. showed that the involvement of trained volunteers for the past 6 years enabled researchers to learn more about the spread of the disease, build predictive maps of disease risk, and provide decision-makers with information that could help prioritize efforts. High-school students, teachers, and others used a symptom detection guide and a mobile mapping tool and then sampled leaves for analysis. Amateurs equaled professionals in their ability to recognize infected leaves.

Front. Ecol. Environ. 13, 189 (2015).

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