e-butterfly: Citizen science at its best

I am delighted that e-butterfly is up and running, and other bloggers have already noticed and commented on this resource.  e-butterfly is a Canadian-centric interactive data-base that lets you record butterfly species you see, build a virtual collection, keep track of your own ‘life list’, learn about other species, explore distribution maps, share with a broader community of like-minded people, and contribute to science and conservation.

e-butterfly screenshot

Yes, “contribute to science and conservation“.  This site is an amazing resource where you can use your love of butterflies to do some real and important citizen science.

I’ve not yet contributed to e-butterfly, but I did enjoy reading this post from from Adrian Thysse about his experience working through the process.  It seems straightforward, yet still rigorous.  I certainly plan on submitting records this spring (and I will try to get my kids involved too… a perfect opportunity to include them in a science project that spans the nation). In fact, I can see a lot of ways that e-butterfly could be incorporated into public school education…

I am pleased about e-butterfly for another reason too.  One of the people behind this resource is my former Ph.D. student Maxim Larrivée. While in my laboratory, Max worked on a fascinating project about canopy arthropods (spiders, beetles), and studied how these assemblages were structured in the forests of southern Quebec. Max became an expert with my ‘canopy crane’ (pictured below) – not for the faint of heart!

Max up in the canopy crane!

We are still working on some publications from his dissertation, but I am pleased that a few papers are already out, including work about general patterns of spider assemblages in the canopy , and this one about spider ballooning behaviour.

Max using a beat-sheet in the canopy (about 70 ft up!)

Max graduated a few years ago, and since leaving my laboratory has been doing a post-doc in Ottawa, first in Jeremy Kerr’s laboratory, and more recently, in a collaborative project with NatureServeCanada – and as part of that collaboration came e-butterfly.  I am really pleased for Max’s success, and I really think the e-butterfly site will take flight – it should.

Max is also an incredible photographer – you can view his work here: http://www.pbase.com/isotria

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2 thoughts on “e-butterfly: Citizen science at its best

  1. Pingback: A classy canopy-dwelling jumping spider: Hentzia mitrata | Arthropod Ecology

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