a look at citizen science in Latin America

Having participated in the "Workshop: Science of the Citizen of Biodiversity in Latin America" ​​held in September of 2018 in Mexico City, I met many people who taught me new ways to observe biodiversity, not only through individual specimens, but also through interactions between species, the "web of life", leading me to admire them for their competent and efficient work.
Even before going to the Workshop, I processed some simple statistics to situate myself (as one of the representatives of Brazil) in relation to the other countries that would participate in the event. I found that our performance, at least as far as the use of the iNaturalist platform is concerned, is very poor compared to the other Latin American countries.
Back in Brazil, I made several contacts with people involved with different forms of life, in universities, a journal of scientific divulgation, study groups, science citizens, government institutions and individuals, presenting them to the iNationalist, stimulating them to register their observations in a broad-spectrum database.
I updated the statistics to present them to the iNaturalist community. These statistics were prepared for the 15 Latin American countries that were represented at that Workshop. The data were obtained on July 7 counting only verifiable observations. The results are very interesting.

To compare the performances of countries with such different populations, from 4 million (Panama) to 209 million inhabitants (Brazil), it was calculated the number of observers per million inhabitants. The comparison is shown in figure 1.

Figure 1

In some sense, this statistic illustrates the engagement of the population with citizen science and the use of the iNaturalist platform. [Please, see Post Scriptum bellow]

To compare the performances of countries with such different areas, from 51,000 km² (Costa Rica) to 8,512,000 km² (Brazil), it was calculated the number of observations per 1,000 km². The comparison is shown in figure 2.

Figure 2

One can think of the influence of population density to access the sites to make the observations, but no correlation was found in this sense. It may be a result of the attention and the experience of the citizen scientist when he or she is in the field. [Please, see Post Scriptum bellow]

Comments are welcome.

Post Scriptum
The comments of "aztekium_tutor" and "tiwane" are very important, calling attention to the great amount of observations made in Costa Rica by outsiders.
Analyzing the 25 observers who have the highest number of observations in Costa Rica, only 4 of them have more than 80% of their observations in the country, while 17 have less than 30% of their observations in the country.
In fact, for a country that is not very populous and has significant ecological tourism, the engagement of the population can not be directly related to the proportion of the number of observers in relation to the population of the country. Certainly the density of observations (observations/1,000km²) is also influenced by the presence of outsiders.

Posted on 08 de julio de 2019 by nelson_wisnik nelson_wisnik


Hi, this a re great stats, I wonder if the tourism in Costa Rica has something to do with this numbers.


Carlos "Aztekium" Velazco.

Publicado por aztekium hace más de 3 años (Marca)

Looking at the top ten observers in Costa Rica, only 2 appear to live in Costa Rica (although I can't be certain). Others look to be tourists, tour leaders, or researchers not from Costa Rica. And I recognize a lot of Americans as I scroll down the list.

Publicado por tiwane hace más de 3 años (Marca)

Yes, I think the people from the cuontry are still poorly engaged.

Publicado por aztekium hace más de 3 años (Marca)

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