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New Citizen Science Project Brings Butterfly Enthusiasts and Scientists Together

Who doesn’t love butterflies? They’re beautiful, fragile, and extremely important to our ecosystems. They’re also incredibly sensitive to changes in their habitats, from changing temperatures to increasing urban sprawl. And now, just about anyone can help scientists better understand them, by contributing to a new citizen science project.

eButterfly, from Oregon State University, is an online portal for recording sightings of butterflies across the US and Canada, which will help add virtual manpower to the cadre of scientists that are gathering data on one of the Earth’s most elegant inhabitants.

“What we need, and what we believe eButterfly will provide, is thousands of individuals collecting data on butterfly sightings all over the U.S. and Canada, for decades to come. This will be a wonderful opportunity for people to get involved in science, appreciate nature and our changing world, and interact with and enjoy biodiversity.” – Katy Prudic, research scientist at OSU and founder and director of eButterfly

Kids are naturals for this type of project due to their inherent sense of curiosity, and participating in eButterfly could be a key element for them to get interested in science as they learn about ecology, entomology, climate change, botany, and other areas of scientific study. But it’s not just for kids, as eButterfly also welcomes all sorts of backyard naturalists, hobbyists, and science professionals to help contribute to it.

At eButterfly, users can:

  • Record the butterflies you see, photograph, and collect
  • Build a virtual collection of butterflies
  • Keep track of your butterfly lists (life, year, provinces/states)
  • Find butterflies you have never seen
  • Explore dynamic distribution maps
  • Share your sightings and join the eButterfly community
  • Contribute to science and conservation

eButterfly is free and features tutorials for learning how to contribute, a gallery of butterfly images, maps, and other data about our winged friends.

[Image: Oregon State University]

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