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Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Roberta Ayres

Aquatic Educator and Naturalist Center Coordinator at the California Academy of Sciences

Roberta is a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, where she earned her Bachelors degree in Biology and teaching credentials. In 1998 she graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a M.S. Science Education with course concentration in museum education. Her career in the informal science education field started right after graduation at the Sciencenter, Ithaca, NY, where she developed and delivered public programs and trained museum volunteers. She is currently the Aquatic Educator and Naturalist Center Coordinator at the California Academy of 

Sciences, San Francisco, CA. As part of her job responsibilities, Roberta is involved into two very successful citizen science projects, the SF Bay: 2K project and the Bay Area Ant Survey.

Bay Area Ant Survey: A Myrmecological Research by Citizen Scientists
The Bay Area Ant Survey (BAAS) goal is to identify and plot the distribution of ant fauna living in the San Francisco bay area, thus allowing researchers to identify both areas of native ant species richness, and the distribution of the invasive Argentine ant, Linepithema humile, while promoting public participation in the scientific process. The public participation in the project involves collecting ants and associated habitat data which are then returned to the museum's Naturalist Center. Teachers and museum visitors are also taught how to identify local ant species using taxonomic picture keys. Additionally, educators can borrow microscopes, books, and other ant-related resource materials for classroom use. After data are returned to the museum, specimen identifications are verified by researchers and georeferenced based on locality information provided by the citizen collectors.

Citizen science, volunteer monitoring, participatory action research... this site supports organizers of all initiatives where public participants are involved in scientific research.

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