The information age is characterized by rapid accumulation of myriad types of digital data. Central to this revolution is the Internet, which is a source of unprecedented amounts of highly diverse and readily accessible data, via webpages, social media, and various other data platforms. These data are constantly created and stored in the digital realm and form an omnipresent part of the modern world. They also provide novel opportunities for research that can inform conservation. Conservation culturomics is an emerging field of inquiry that aims to promote conservation by exploring human-nature interactions as these are manifested in online and other digital archives (1,2). iEcology is the study of ecological patterns and processes using data generated for other purposes and stored digitally (3,4). Together these rapidly developing fields hold much promise in harnessing voluminous and rapidly expanding databases to better understand the natural world and people’s interactions with it. In doing so they provide new research opportunities in conservation science at scales unfathomable until a few years ago. In the proposed symposium we will highlight how these novel opportunities could be harnessed to track biodiversity patterns, trends and threats, including human-nature interactions across scales, while also addressing key challenges (2-4). Specifically, we will show how iEcology approaches can be used to explore spatio-temporal trends in biodiversity, monitor rare or endangered species, and threats to its persistence (3-5). Conservation culturomic approaches have been used to explore interest in nature, conservation and the environment; highlight cultural ecosystem services and their value for people; look at people’s interest in species or regions of conservation concern; and quantify attitudes towards conservation interventions and policies (6). As data accumulates, methods develop, and these approaches become common-place amongst conservationists, conservation culturomics and iEcology will become central to our ability to successfully tackle the biodiversity crisis.
(1) Ladle, R.J., Correia, R.A., Do, Y., Joo, G.-J., Malhado, A., Proulx, R., Roberge, J.-M., Jepson, P., 2016. Conservation culturomics. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 14, 269-275.
(2) Correia, R.A., Ladle, R., Jarić, I., Malhado, A.C.M., Mittermeier, J.C., Roll, U., Soriano-Redondo, A., Veríssimo, D., Fink, C., Hausmann, A., Guedes-Santos, J., Vardi, R., Di Minin, E., 2021. Digital data sources and methods for conservation culturomics. Conservation Biology 35, 398-411.
(3) Jarić, I., Correia, R.A., Brook, B.W., Buettel, J.C., Courchamp, F., Di Minin, E., Firth, J.A., Gaston, K.J., Jepson, P., Kalinkat, G., Ladle, R., Soriano-Redondo, A., Souza, A.T., Roll, U., 2020. iEcology: Harnessing Large Online Resources to Generate Ecological Insights. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 35, 630-639.
(4) Jarić, I., Roll, U., Arlinghaus, R., Belmaker, J., Chen, Y., China, V., Douda, K., Essl, F., Jähnig, S.C., Jeschke, J.M., Kalinkat, G., Kalous, L., Ladle, R., Lennox, R.J., Rosa, R., Sbragaglia, V., Sherren, K., Šmejkal, M., Soriano-Redondo, A., Souza, A.T., Wolter, C., Correia, R.A., 2020. Expanding conservation culturomics and iEcology from terrestrial to aquatic realms. Plos Biology 18, e3000935.
(5) Jarić, I., Bellard, C., Correia, R.A., Courchamp, F., Douda, K., Essl, F., Jeschke, J.M., Kalinkat, G., Kalous, L., Lennox, R.J., Novoa, A., Proulx, R., Pyšek, P., Soriano–Redondo, A., Souza, A.T., Vardi, R., Veríssimo, D., Roll, U., 2021. Invasion Culturomics and iEcology. Conservation Biology 35, 447-451.
(6) Correia, R.A., Ladle, R., Roll, U., 2021. Special Section: Advancing Conservation Culturomics - Introduction. Conservation Biology 35, 395-397.
Observing the flowering phenology of an invasive succulent through the lens of social media
- Susan Canavan (Department of Invasion Ecology, Czech Republic)
Nature apps – Gaining Ecological and Conservation Insights from Dedicated Smartphone Applications
- Anna Cihlová (Ben-gurion University, Israel)
Digital data sources and methods for conservation culturomics
- Ricardo Correia (University of Helsinki, Finland)
Evaluating global progress in awareness of biodiversity and conservation action worldwide
- Gabriel De Oliveira Caetano (Ben Gurion University, Israel)
Social media in conservation science: opportunities, challenges and going forward
- Enrico Di Minin (University of Helsinki, Finland)
Tracking the social dimension of ongoing fish distributional range shift in marine recreational fishing
- Lucía Espasandín (Institute of Marine Sciences - ICM-CSIC, Spain)
Transience of public attention in conservation science
- Ivan Jarić (Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic)
Digital and traditional marketing approaches for effective fundraising in conservation
- Takahiro Kubo (NIES - National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan)
A novel digital approach to quantifying political vulnerability of protected areas
- Richard Ladle (Universidade de Porto, Portugal)
Strengthening Ecological Monitoring Through Conservation Technology: Applying the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART), Wildlife Insights and KoBotoolbox to Ecological Surveys
- Antony Lynam (Wildlife Conservation Society, United States)
Trends and dynamics in conservation culturomics and iEcology research
- Uri Roll (Ben-gurion University of the Negev, Israel)
Double advantages in monitoring biodiversity trends and threats using digital tools in the context of recreational fishing
- Valerio Sbragaglia (Institute of Marine Sciences, Spain)
Comparing interest in nature across culturomic and other digital sources
- Reut Vardi (Tel-Aviv University, Israel)
How supportive can deep learning be in biodiversity research? Three tales of cultural services, biological invasions, and wildlife trade
- Ana Sofia Vaz (CIBIO-InBIO-BIOPOLIS, Portugal)
How well does online information-seeking behavior indicate public conservation orientation? Taxonomy and personal characteristics matter
- Munemitsu Akasaka (South African National Biodiversity Institute, South African Republic)