Social networks have revolutionized the way people share information across the internet. The volume of plant and animal photographs shared on sites like Facebook and Flickr has outpaced specimen collection efforts by mueums governments and academics. Yet this information has yet to be harnessed for science and conservation. iNaturalist.org, a social network for naturalist, aims to connect amateurs and experts to convert photos of biodiversity shared on the web into useful data for science and conservation. On May 25th, in partnership with the Smithsonian, IUCN/ssc, and others iNaturalist launched the Global Amphibian Bioblitz, an effort to cenusus every species of amphibian. In the first three weeks, the effort yielded over 400 distinct species from 36 countries representing 79% of the world's amphibian families and 83 threatened species. The effort peaked the interest of those interested in engaging the public about conservation as well as concern from groups combating collecting and poaching. The success of efforts like the Global Amphibian Bioblitz reveals the potential of citizen-science through social networks as a scalable and cost-effective new tool for monitoring global biodiversity.
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