AppEAR: Una aplicación móvil de ciencia ciudadana para mapear la calidad de los hábitats acuáticos continentales

AppEAR: Una aplicación móvil de ciencia ciudadana para mapear la calidad de los hábitats acuáticos continentales

Joaquin Cochero


La ciencia ciudadana, o ciencia participativa, es el proceso a través del cual el público en general contribuye activamente a proyectos científcos. En las últimas décadas, los proyectos de ciencia ciudadana proliferaron gracias a Internet y están demostrando ser muy útiles para complementar los monitoreos ambientales “tradicionales”. AppEAR (“app” para la Evaluación de Ambientes Ribereños) tiene como objetivo contribuir al mapeo del estado de los ambientes acuáticos continentales, con énfasis en el hábitat de sus riberas y costas, dentro de un marco de ciencia ciudadana colaborativa. Consiste en una aplicación móvil gratuita que permite a los usuarios evaluar el hábitat de ríos, arroyos, lagos y estuarios desde dispositivos móviles, a través de cuestionarios y fotografías. La aplicación también incluye material educativo y lúdico para diferentes edades, relacionado con las características y el cuidado de los ecosistemas acuáticos de aguas continentales. En su primer año, el proyecto AppEAR incorporó ~460 usuarios que aportaron información sobre 131 sitios muestreados en todo el país. A través de sus contribuciones, los ciudadanos científcos reconocieron las problemáticas ambientales más comunes, que incluyen el uso del suelo que rodea al sitio, la calidad de la vegetación de ribera y la presencia de basura. Aunque es importante conocer y reconocer las limitaciones del uso de herramientas digitales masivas para recolectar datos con fnes científcos, se las debe entender como un complemento de las técnicas tradicionales de monitoreo, que pueden enriquecer las distintas etapas de los estudios de investigación.

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