Thesis subject

Citizen involvement in biodiversity monitoring and conservation

The Environmental Systems Analysis Group provides the possibility for students to do their thesis in collaboration with our group. This is one of many possible thesis subjects. Please feel free to contact Dr De Koning (right) for more information.

Tackling biodiversity loss is one of the major challenges of the 21st century. Biodiversity decline is undeniably caused by humans, directly and indirectly through habitat loss and climate change. In order to address this we need to change something about the relationship that people have with the natural environment. One of the ways to do so is to involve local citizens in science projects, data collection and monitoring. Despite the fact that only few people are trained to follow a ‘proper scientific’ data collection protocol, some basic instructions can already be sufficient to involve local people in high quality data collection. This has substantial benefits for the amount of observations that we can collect from the field. Local citizens can therefore proof to be invaluable in biodiversity monitoring. Furthermore, these citizen science projects can help change the relationship that people have with nature, and increase support for conservation efforts.

Questions related to this topic can be qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative topics focus on the community involvement in citizen science projects and its effect on how people value nature. Quantitative topics may be more focused on harmonizing the data collected by citizens. E.g., how do you process the data to ensure that observations by citizen volunteers can contribute in monitoring biodiversity?