Citizen science versus professional data collection: Comparison of approaches to mosquito monitoring in Germany
Due to the recent emergence of invasive mosquito species and the outbreaks of mosquito‐borne diseases in Europe, research on the ecology and diversity of the mosquito fauna has returned to scientific agendas. Through a nationwide surveillance programme in Germany, mosquitoes have been monitored actively by systematically operated traps since 2011, and passively by the ‘Mückenatlas’ (mosquito atlas) citizen science project launched in 2012. To assess the performance of both monitoring methods we compared the two respective datasets with regard to habitat coverage, species composition and the ability to detect invasive mosquitoes. The datasets include observations from the beginning of the project until the end of 2017. We found significant differences in species composition caused by land use types and the participants’ recording activity. Active monitoring performed better in mapping mosquito diversity, whereas passive monitoring better detected invasive species, thereby using data from private premises scientists usually cannot access. Synthesis and applications. Active and passive monitoring are complementary. Combining them allows for the determination of mosquito diversity, efficient detection of emerging invasive species and the initiation of rapid‐response actions against such invaders. The ‘Mückenatlas’ sets an example for the usefulness of citizen science when included in a national monitoring programme, an approach that may be worth copying for tackling the global spread of arthropod vectors of disease agents.
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