Everybody loves dragonflies! Take your own fascination with them to the next level by posting your observations online at OdonataCentral.com.
“We will post credit for your find on the website,” says Entomologist John Abbott, creator of the website, “after review by our regional experts.”
Having “citizen scientists” collect and publish their findings is a pioneering approach to gathering and disseminating scientific data. But Abbott thinks it’s a natural.
“Much of our knowledge of dragonflies and damselflies comes from informed citizens rather than professional scientists,” he notes. “It just makes sense to create a place where they can input their observations.”
Since its launch in 1999, OdonataCentral.com has become the worldwide distribution hub for information on dragonflies and damselflies. The site’s interactive field guide contains an unmatched wealth of species information, including size, characteristics, distributions, habitats, and flight seasons.
Articles about OdonataCentral.com have appeared in several publications, including Science magazine. Abbott’s success with the website has raised interest from other scientists, and several sites are now in development using the same basic platform.
“Our knowledge of dragonflies and damselflies is growing at a geometric rate,” says Abbott. “Citizens who share their findings are serving science in a big way.”
The site incorporates the existing World Wide Web, database, and geographic information system (GIS) technologies to operate seamlessly between checklists, ﬁeld guides, and distribution maps.
For more information, visit www.OdonataCentral.org.