Citizen science data quality: Harnessing the power of recreational SCUBA divers for rockfish (Sebastes spp.) conservation

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dc.contributor.author Gorgopa, Stefania M.
dc.date.accessioned 2018-08-30T15:41:25Z
dc.date.available 2018-08-30T15:41:25Z
dc.date.copyright 2018 en_US
dc.date.issued 2018-08-30
dc.identifier.uri https://dspace.library.uvic.ca//handle/1828/9985
dc.description.abstract Monitoring rare or elusive species can be especially difficult in marine environments, resulting in poor data density. SCUBA-derived citizen science data has the potential to improve data density for conservation. However, citizen science data quality may be perceived to be of low quality relative to professional data due to a lack of ‘expertise’ and increased observer variability. We evaluated the quality of data collected by citizen science scuba divers for rockfish (Sebastes spp.) conservation around Southern Vancouver Island, Canada. An information-theoretic approach was taken in two separate analyses to address the overarching question: ‘what factors are important for SCUBA-derived citizen science data quality?’. The first analysis identified predictors of variability in precision between paired divers. We found that professional scientific divers did not exhibit greater data precision than recreational divers. Instead, precision variation was best explained by study site and divers’ species identification or recreational training. A second analysis identified what observer and environmental factors correlated with higher resolution identifications (i.e. identified to the species level rather than family or genus). We found divers provided higher resolution identifications on surveys when they had high species ID competency and diving experience. Favorable conditions (high visibility and earlier in the day) also increased taxonomic resolution on dive surveys. With our findings, we are closer to realizing the full potential of citizen science to increase our capacity to monitor rare and elusive species. en_US
dc.language English eng
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.rights Available to the World Wide Web en_US
dc.subject citizen science en_US
dc.subject data quality en_US
dc.subject marine conservation en_US
dc.subject SCUBA diving en_US
dc.subject precision en_US
dc.subject resolution en_US
dc.subject observer expertise en_US
dc.subject observer error en_US
dc.title Citizen science data quality: Harnessing the power of recreational SCUBA divers for rockfish (Sebastes spp.) conservation en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.contributor.supervisor Volpe, John
dc.degree.department School of Environmental Studies en_US
dc.degree.level Master of Science M.Sc. en_US
dc.description.scholarlevel Graduate en_US

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