Species identification by experts and non-experts: comparing images from field guides

Austen, Gail E. and Bindemann, Markus and Griffiths, Richard A. and Roberts, David L. (2016) Species identification by experts and non-experts: comparing images from field guides. Scientific Reports Electronic deposit (Excel). Located at: Electronic deposit. (Full text available)

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Abstract

Accurate species identification is fundamental when recording ecological data. However, the ability to correctly identify organisms visually is rarely questioned. We investigated how experts and non-experts compared in the identification of bumblebees, a group of insects of considerable conservation concern. Experts and non-experts were asked whether two concurrent bumblebee images depicted the same or two different species. Overall accuracy was below 60% and comparable for experts and non-experts. However, experts were more consistent in their answers when the same images were repeated, and more cautious in committing to a definitive answer. Our findings demonstrate the difficulty of correctly identifying bumblebees using images from field guides. Such error rates need to be accounted for when interpreting species data, whether or not they have been collected by experts. We suggest that investigation of how experts and non-experts make observations should be incorporated into study design, and could be used to improve training in species identification.

Item Type: Datasets / databases
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biodiversity Conservation Group
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biodiversity Management Group
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: David Roberts
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2016 08:53 UTC
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2016 15:58 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/57048 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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