Integrating and utilizing citizen biodiversity data on the web for science: an example

Sunday, 15 February 2015
Exhibit Hall (San Jose Convention Center)
Yusuke Miyazaki, Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Natural History, Odawara, Japan
Background: Citizen Science has been developing in various fields, including biodiversity disciplines. As a result, an accumulation of additional biodiversity data is expected through citizen participation. We would like to note our attempt to actively register and use an image for scientific purposes: an image of the rare triggerfish hybrid Rhinecanthus aculeatus × R. rectangulus was uploaded to WEB sakana-zukan (  Methods: A strange looking triggerfish was captured by a sport fisherman (fourth author) on 4 July 2011, on Miyako-jima Island, Ryukyu Islands, Japan. He uploaded an image of the fish onto a bulletin board system belonging to the non-governmental organization called WEB sakana-zukanon 6 July 2011. We attempted to actively register this citizen’s photograph with the Fish Image Database at the Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Natural History, Japan (KPM-NR). This database has been a source of “FishPix,” which were made available in April 2014, on a website ( belonging to the National Science Museum of Nature and Science, Japan. All distributional information of the KPM-NR was  submitted to the Global Information Facility (GBIF: in 2003.  Results: The fish photograph was registered as a museum collection, KPM-NR 153005, with the citizen’s kind agreement. The fish species was identified as the rare triggerfish hybrid Rhinecanthus aculeatus × R. rectangulus(Tetraodontiformes: Balistidae). This hybrid was scientifically recorded for the first time in this report. Conclusion: Based on this example, a discussion will follow on the significance and methods for accumulating biodiversity data from web communities. In these communities, general citizens upload biodiversity media data for their entertainment and not for biodiversity data accumulation, which can be used scientifically.  For example, we added an image of the rare triggerfish hybrid Rhinecanthus aculeatus × R. rectangulus, which was photographed and captured by a sports fisherman (i.e., a general citizen), to a museum collection and included it in GBIF data. Therefore, the distributional information of the hybrid can be easily utilized as scientific data. The rare and significant records of biodiversity information can be easily published in scientific papers, whereas normal species records cannot be easily published due to their low scientific importance. Accumulating biodiversity information, including normal species, in museum collections is a very important method for evaluating human direct/indirect impacts, such as large-scale developments and global warming.