SPOTLIGHT: Science & Environment

Using "People Power" to Understand Backyard Biodiversity - Corey Calaghan, Assistant Professor at the University of Florida Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center

illustration of 3 people observing natureIn this talk, I will discuss the varied ways “people power”, harnessed through citizen science, contributes to our collective understanding of biodiversity. I will draw on recent examples and advances in using, optimizing, and understanding citizen science data for biodiversity research. I will use examples such as eBird and iNaturalist to illustrate the power of these data for advancing our understanding of urban ecology, as well as many other facets of ecology. And I will conclude with some useful tips on making the data you submit most valuable for scientific research.

Corey Calaghan
Originally from Western New York, I moved to south Florida where I did my Masters research on Purple (or Gray-headed) Swamphens. After this, I moved to Australia to do a PhD focused on how birds respond to urbanization, followed by a Postdoc in Germany focused on how to optimize sampling of biodiversity by citizen scientists. Currently, I'm an Assistant Professor at the University of Florida Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center. My current research tends to focus on urban ecology, asking fundamental questions such as how species traits influence a species’ ability to persist in urban ecosystems as well as applied questions such as how to better preserve biodiversity in urban greenspaces. While I am partial to birds, my research cuts across different taxa including birds, amphibians, butterflies, and multi-taxa compilations. I also spend a lot of time thinking about optimizing citizen science data for use in biodiversity research. When not working, I spend my free time with my wife, toddler, and dog birding, hiking, and camping.

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