The MDI Biological Laboratory is riding the growing wave of interest in citizen science with the development of a new, easily accessible mobile phone app to help community organizations track and analyze crowd-sourced data from citizen volunteers on critical environmental questions.
The free app is an outgrowth of Anecdata.org, an online citizen science portal for collecting and sharing environmental data.
The portal is now being used worldwide by organizations such as the South Carolina Aquarium and Mass Audubon after being developed by MDI Biological Laboratory faculty and staff to crowd-source data in an effort to identify, locate and remedy environmental threats in the region of Mount Desert Island, Maine, where the institution is located.
Anecdata.org is now home to 60 projects, with examples including projects to track the disappearance of eelgrass from Maine's coastal waters; track "king," or exceptionally high, tides in the Gulf of Maine; and survey the decline of the eastern meadowlark in North America. The new app will make it quick and easy for participants to receive notifications from projects and share observations from the field.