Dipartimento Scienze Statistiche, University of Rome La Sapienza, Italia
Integrating researchers and social media data: A case with two dolphin species in the central Italian Mediterranean
Collecting information about wild species distribution across space and time is a fundamental source of ecological knowledge. However, data collection at the relevant spatio-temporal scale, through the traditional expert surveys, is often cost-prohibitive.
Citizen science has been signaled as an increasingly important source to fill in data gaps where information is needed to make comprehensive and robust inferences on species distributions. However, while expert surveys are designed in order to control the sampling effort, citizen science data have unknown and varying sampling efforts. This is a major issue when trying to integrate different data sources.
In this talk, we propose a model-based approach for merging expert survey and citizen science data while accounting for variation in citizen science data sampling effort. The case study is an analysis of sightings from two dolphins species along the Lazio coast. Sightings come from 3 different data sources, two from expert surveys and one from the analysis of social media reporting. We assume that the main source of variation for the sampling effort of the citizen science data is the accessibility of the location of the sightings.
This work is part of the project ‘Joint Cetacean Database and Mapping (JCDM) in Italian waters: a tool for knowledge and conservation', Sapienza University of Rome (no. RM1201729F23D51B).