'Citizen scientists' use app to track invasive plants
Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters develops app in quest to control unwanted species
A smartphone app to track unwelcome species is being touted as a way for people to help manage potential invasions.
Several types of invasive species have been identified in the Sudbury area, including giant hogweed, purple loosestrife and garlic mustard, and a staff scientist at Science North says researchers could certainly use help from the general population to manage the plants' spread.
"If there was a tool where people who are interested can participate in some kind of citizen science to feed their observation of invasive [species], that would really be useful," Jenny Fortier said.
Eventually, smartphone users will be able to assist.
The app, developed by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, is expected to be able to take a photo of the species, mark its location and automatically send the information to a database.
The invading species awareness program co-ordinator with OFAH said the information will be used to possibly control or manage the spread.
"When it comes to invasive species, the earlier you can respond when populations are smaller, and more manageable, the better," Sophie Monfette said.
"What we hope to do is to be able to share this information to get these early warnings, share this information with the appropriate contacts. [This would] provide the opportunity for a response."
The app is expected to be available by mid-September, Monfette said.