Citizen Scientists take the City Nature Challenge

by Sarah Dobson Nature

A huge thank you to everyone who took part across The Living Coast and helped make our first participation in the global City Nature Challenge a great success. Despite all the additional challenges we are currently facing due to being in lockdown, it was brilliant to see wildlife being recorded in real time across the Biosphere via our iNaturalist project page.

Citizen scientists throughout the Biosphere have helped us learn more about the flora and fauna of The Living Coast – and in particularly this year, what plants and creatures are making our urban areas and back gardens their homes.

We have had an amazing 1880 observations of 570 species by 107 participants this year – and the numbers are still going up as the final observations are added in the run up to the cut off date of 3 May. We also have an additional 200 people registered to assist with identification. Amazing, particularly for a first year! Thanks again to everyone who got involved.

Some more stats:

House Sparrow spotted in a back garden in Hove for City Nature Challenge 2020

The House Sparrow is currently our joint-most observed species which is fantastic news as House Sparrows are a red listed species. This means they have the highest conservation priority in the UK and are considered to be a species needing urgent action. Recent estimates suggest this species has suffered a 70% decline in the UK since 1977, so to have it as our most observed species in the Biosphere is really special. For more information about our local populations of House Sparrows have a look at the Brighton & Hove House Sparrows Project

Cow parsley at Stanmer Park spotted for City Nature Challenge 2020

Cow parsley is joint first with the House Sparrow for most observed species. The delicate white flowers and fern like foliage can be a familiar sight along road verges that aren’t too frequently mown. Cow parsley is a very beneficial early source of nectar for pollinators and insects and usually flowers from April - June.

The City Nature Challenge runs in 2 phases: the first being 24 – 27 April where people were observing and photographing wildlife using the iNaturalist app on a smart phone, or using a standard camera and uploading via a computer. The second phase runs 28 April – 3 May and during this time all the observations made and submitted are verified by the iNaturalist global community to confirm the identity of the species that have been observed. This verification process helps anyone wishing to use the wildlife data gathered as part of the City Nature Challenge to have confidence that the information is correct.

Once all of our observations are verified we will be sharing more information about what was spotted and seeing how we compared with City Nature Challengers in the rest of the UK and across the world.

Have a look here if you would like to know more about City Nature Challenge. If you have enjoyed observing and identifying nature and would like to get more involved, then have a look at the Sussex Biodiversity Records Centre – a fantastic resource containing biodiversity data from across Sussex, plus lots of helpful information about how to get involved in recording in your local area.

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Nature 2020

This year is the end of the UN Decade of Biodiversity. Help us mark this by celebrating biodiversity in our biosphere.

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