A hybrid is born: Integrating collective sensing, citizen science and professional monitoring of the environment

Susanne Becken, Rod M. Connolly, Jinyan Chen, Bela Stantic

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Including members of the public in the development of effective environmental monitoring systems is gaining traction. This research assesses the potential for a hybrid monitoring system for the case of coral at the Great Barrier Reef. Based on a review of citizen-derived data sources, the paper first develops a framework and then populates it with five datasets. These are then compared based on data volumes, type of data, spatial coverage, and bleaching patterns. The results reveal the inherent difficulties – both in terms of quantity and quality – for collective sensing data (Twitter in this case)and more structured human sensors approaches (Eye on the Reef Sightings). However, more targeted approaches, such as CoralWatch and tourism-operator based data collection, emerged as important contributors to information generation on the state of coral. Citizen-based data that either deliver a high data density per location, a wide geographic coverage, or regular observations over time are particularly valuable. Recommendations are made for developing a hybrid monitoring system that integrates citizen-derived with professionally collected data.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-45
Number of pages11
JournalEcological Informatics
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Citizen science
  • Collective sensing
  • Coral
  • Great barrier reef
  • Hybrid system
  • Monitoring

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Ecological Modelling
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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