Citizen Science

Citizen Science is a phrase that we hear more and more often these days. As they say, there is nothing new under the sun and in many ways this is simply a return to times past when there were no field ecologists, Wildlife Trusts or Biodiversity Action Plans and most wildlife observing and recording was done by amateur enthusiasts. So what do we mean by Citizen Science? This is as good a definition as any:

‘The collection and analysis of data relating to the natural world by members of the general public typically as part of a collaborative project with professional science’.

In practice this could mean you wandering out into your garden, seeing a sparrow and reporting it. A popular misconception is that you have to be an expert and only report rare species. But it is the most common ones that are often under-recorded. The South East Wales Biodiversity Recording organisation (SEWBREC) have a species of the month for which they are seeking new records and recently these have included moles, garden spiders and house martins.

And so to the image shown here which is of a small spider perched under a pot on a patio table in Wenvoe. Taking a photo and checking in books or on the Internet indicates that this is the Toad Spider. It is not rare – simply under-recorded as this example turned out to be the first in the Vale of Glamorgan on two different databases.