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Co-Fish: a co-created citizen science project for evolution understanding, conservation and scientific literacy

Applicant Strasser Bruno
Number 198179
Funding scheme COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology)
Research institution Université de Genève Uni Vogt
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Education and learning sciences, subject-specific education
Start/End 01.02.2021 - 31.01.2024
Approved amount 239'908.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Education and learning sciences, subject-specific education
Ecology

Keywords (10)

sustainability; scientific literacy; evolution; researcher engagement; transdisciplinarity; co-creation; citizen science; angler; participatory research; open science

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
La recherche participative permet-t-elle d'augmente-t-elle la culture scientifique? Une recherche co-construite entre pêcheurs amateurs et scientifiques sur l'évolution et l'écologie des truites du Léman.
Lay summary
Pour le fonctionnement des société démocratiques, il est essentiel que les citoyennes et les citoyens possèdent une culture scientifique adéquate leur permettant de contribuer aux débats et aux choix démocratiques. Les « sciences participatives » (ou « sciences citoyennes ») permettent au public de participer directement à la recherche scientifique et constituent un moyen prometteur pour renforcer la culture scientifique et l’engagement des citoyens. Les dispositifs participatifs assignent des roles très variables au public, qui vont du simple collecteur de données au participant à part entière qui co-construit les questions de recherche. Mais aujourd’hui, on ne sait pas précisément quels dispositifs participatifs permettent de maximiser les impacts éducatifs, scientifiques et sociétaux.

Dans Co-Fish, nous évaluerons des dispositifs permettent de promouvoir la culture scientifique dans le domaine de l’évolution et de l’écologie, en prenant l’exemple de la pêche lacustre durable. Les poissons de lac, comme la truite Salmo trutta, sont particulièrement vulnérables aux pressions anthropiques et le siècle dernier a connu des déclins à grande échelle de leur diversité et de leurs populations. Les pêcheurs à la ligne, qui pratiquent la pêche récréative, ont à la fois une riche connaissance des populations de poissons et une influence directe sur leur nombre et leurs expériences passées ont indiqué qu'ils peuvent forger de solides partenariats de recherche avec des scientifiques de la région du Léman.

Dans Co-Fish, nous inviterons les pêcheurs à contribuer au projet soit en tant que «co-créateurs», «contributeurs de données» ou en tant que groupe «témoin». Nous mesurerons l'impact de ces dispositifs sur la culture scientifique des pêcheurs et étudierons le potentiel d'apprentissage pour les scientifiques. Nous nous attendons à ce que Co-Fish débouche sur de nouvelles façons de promouvoir la culture scientifique et une riche expérience de co-apprentissage pour tous les partenaires impliqués, avec des résultats qui peuvent optimiser les exigences de participation aux futurs projets de science citoyenne
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 26.01.2021

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Project partner

Abstract

A scientifically engaged citizenship is crucial for democratic societies. Governments depend on such citizens to make informed decisions to achieve key global targets, such as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Citizen science - the involvement of non-professional scientists in research - is increasingly viewed as a tool to promote scientific literacy and to collect scientific data to address global challenges. Despite the rise in popularity of citizen science, there is a current lack of information on how projects should be designed, conducted and governed in order to maximise their scientific, educational, and societal impact. Citizen science encompasses a broad range of activities. Whereas some projects focus purely on citizens as data contributors, others involve citizens in the co-creation of research from problem framing to project implementation and dissemination. It is thought that this latter approach is more promising if the intention is to promote scientific literacy, conservation action and environmental stewardship. However, to date, there exists scant empirical evidence that co-creation methods are more effective for scientific literacy than scientist-driven, contributory projects. This distinction is important as co-creation is both more labour and financially intensive. Humans have modified the natural environment resulting in the current biodiversity and climate crises. Land-use change, habitat modification, hunting pressure all interact with species’ evolutionary processes to affect their distributions and abundances. It is becoming increasingly clear that we cannot consider biodiversity and sustainability issues without taking into account evolutionary change. However, evolution is often treated as a controversial topic and is generally poorly understood by the broader public. The EuroScitizen COST Action aims to promote scientific literacy, focusing on evolution as a model. In Co-Fish, we will apply an empirical case of guidelines from Deliverable 8 of EuroScitizen “a best-practices guide for citizen science projects in evolution”. We will use measurement instruments compiled by the Action to study scientific literacy in order to test the hypothesis that a co-created citizen science has a greater impact on scientific literacy than a purely contributory project. We will focus on the issue of sustainable lake fisheries. Lakes, as semi-closed systems, are particularly vulnerable to human-induced pressures and the last century has seen large-scale declines and changes in both the genetic and species diversity of lake fish. However, as a complex and societally relevant problem, the sustainability of fish stocks needs the collaboration of a diverse groups of stakeholders. Anglers, people that fish recreationally, have both a wealth of knowledge of fish populations and a direct influence on their numbers and past experiences have indicated that they can forge strong research partnerships. In Co-Fish we will work with anglers on Lake Geneva, a culturally and ecologically important lake bordering two COST countries, Switzerland and France. We will invite anglers to contribute to the project either as “co-creators”, “data contributors” or as a “control” group. Through a series of co-creation workshops, the co-creators will co-design a research project with biologists. Once the project has been piloted and refined, data contributors will collect data. We will be able to measure the impact in terms of scientific literacy of the anglers contributing to the research in different ways and study the transformative learning potential for the scientists. We expect Co-Fish to result in novel ways to promote scientific literacy and a rich co-learning experience for all partners involved, with results that can optimise participation requirements in future citizen science projects.
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