Smartphone apps for recording invasive alien species in Europe
Smartphone applications (apps) are becoming increasingly popular for both scientists and the general public to record the occurrences of alien species. The advantages are clear; apps in the hands of nature enthusiasts increase the number of records for species far beyond the scope of a single university laboratory or company. Citizen scientists are now able to record species while out in the field and track their identifications via the main app website. The RINSE project (Reducing the Impact of Invasive Non-Native Species in Europe) developed a smartphone app for iOS and Android named ‘That’s Invasive’. The app collects geo-referenced photographs of a selection of priority invasive species and uploads them with additional information on the online recording platform iRecord (NBN, http://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/). An interesting feature of this app is that it includes a section on confusing species which may be similar in appearance to the species users are uploading. Similarly, the Coordination Centre for Invasive Plants in protected areas of Saxony-Anhalt (KORINA, http://www.korina.info) developed an app with the aim to establish an early warning system and to enhance the control of invasive plants in protected areas. The present study details that the KORINA project has yielded 7 770 records of non-native plants. With an average development cost of approximately 20 000 EUR, smartphone apps are an effective and relatively cheap technology to engage citizen scientists to help map and ultimately combat invasive alien plant invasions.
Adriaens T, Sutton-Croft M, Owen K, Brosens D, Van Valkenburg J, Kilbey D, Groom Q, Ehmig C, Thürkow F, Van Hende P, Schneider K (2015) Trying to engage the crowd in recording invasive alien species in Europe: experiences from two smartphone applications in northwest Europe. Management of Biological Invasions 6(2), 215-225.