Nature photographers in South Asia are helping with biodiversity conservation by posting their photos on social media. Dr Shawan Chowdhury and his team used images from Facebook nature photography groups in Bangladesh to improve habitat mapping and conservation efforts. They found 44,000 photos of almost 1,000 animal species, including many threatened species. This improved habitat mapping and identified high-priority areas for conservation. In Australia, social media posts are being used to track pest species, such as the tawny coster butterfly. The researchers hope that social media companies can develop technology, like an app, to transfer biodiversity data directly to global databases, making it easier for conservation scientists to access and use the information. Dr Chowdhury is also a researcher at the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research, the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, and the Friedrich Schiller University Jena.

Source: UQ News, “Facebook photos aid biodiversity discovery”, August 2, 2021

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