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Shrewsbury, Shropshire, United Kingdom
FSC Preston Montford has been an outdoor classroom since 1957 and is a Field Studies Council centre. We deliver curriculum related outdoor education by the experts; from pre-school to Masters level; for infants, school students, undergraduates and enquiring adults with an interest in the natural world. Courses for schools and individuals. A venue for others to use; with bed space for 130, catering facilities and 7 fully equipped teaching and meeting spaces.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Citizen science at Preston Montford

Citizen science is becoming more valuable to the scientific world. It simultaneously engages the public in important, modern scientific issues and gathers large amounts of data for scientists to analyse.  Since 2010, FSC Preston Montford has taken part in a survey which has  recently been published. The paper, titled “The Success of the Horse-Chestnut Leaf-Miner, Cameraria ohridella, in the UK Revealed with Hypothesis-Led Citizen Science”, can be found here (http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0086226).

Figure 1. Picture of the effect Cameraria ohridella has on horse-chestnut leaves. Picture from Pocock and Evans, authors of the paper.

Using the diagram in figure 2, we scored the level of damage to leaves from 0 to 4. Photos were also taken and sent to the authors using a smartphone app, this let the expert recorder confirm the accuracy of our results. 

Figure 2. Diagram of how to score the damage to the horse-chestnut leaves. Diagram from Pocock and Evans, authors of the paper.

The study found that leaves were more damaged when there were more leaf-mining moths residing in the leaf and that the level of damage increased rapidly in the first 3 years of infection but levelled off after that. The authors then found that the level of parasitism of the leaf-miner moths increased after this period, due to parasites already in the area multiplying vastly by taking advantage of the increased numbers of moths in which to reproduce.