Monday, April 24, 2017

Citizen science team monitors a deadly fungus threatening amphibian communities in northern California

Webinar presented by the U.S. Forest Service and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies:

Abstract: Citizen science projects increasingly are making important contributions to conservation science. Most citizen science projects solicit opportunistic reports of observations from the general public. However, the need for targeted and standardized citizen science sampling schemes has been recognized. In this webinar, we will share a case study in which the USFS Pacific Southwest Research Station partnered with an invested volunteer group to conduct citizen science to answer a specific conservation question. We discuss why and how the partnership between research scientists, state agencies, and citizens was successful at creating important research and educational products, while also maintaining participant motivation through education, enjoyment, and societal contribution. We partnered with the McKinleyville, California “EcoClub” to assess the distribution and prevalence of the
deadly amphibian disease chytridiomycosis, or “chytrid fungus”, among amphibians of public lands in Humboldt County, California. EcoClub youth and supervising family members comprised a multigenerational (4 to 74 years old) and multiethnic (39% Latino, Native American, or African-American heritage) citizen science program that reflected the local community structure. The team’s objectives were to use citizen science to understand the status and distribution of the fungus within local amphibian communities and to evaluate whether citizen science with children could be an effective strategy for conducting viable research on a significant wildlife disease problem such as chytridiomycosis. From May 2013 to April 2015, the EcoClub conducted 29 sampling trips and collected skin swabs from 230 amphibians of eight of species. The team’s results were recently published in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases and demonstrated that children are effective samplers and that an energized team of citizens can make a difference for conservation science.

Contacts: Monica Tomosy ( and Nicole Zimmerman (

Dr. Karen Pope
Research Wildlife Biologist
U.S. Forest Service Research & Development
Pacific Southwest Research Station

Wednesday, May 24th, 2017 2 p.m. Eastern/1 Central/ 12 p.m. Mountain/11 a.m. Pacific

To join the webinar:

Step 1: For audio, dial: 800.768.2983, access code: 8383462