smartphone apps for field biologists

This list is one of the products put together by students in the 2011 edition of my graduate course in Plant-Animal Interactions.  As part of the class, my students developed a guide to the native tree species of the University of Florida campus, with information on the their dispersers, pollinators, and herbivores (you can download it here for your Android smartphone). The students also wrote a paper in the Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America describing the process and laying out some of the ways smartphones can be used in ecological research, teaching, and extension).

If you are a developer and would like to add your  app to the list, or you have an application you like to use but it isn’t here, please send me an email with a link to the apps home page. H/T to Elena Malykhina for her article highlighting several citizen science apps that were new to us.

Data Entry & Recording Observations

Environmental Data

Field Guides

Mapping, GIS, & GPS

Field Work Utilities

Citizen Science

  • Project Budburst: national field campaign designed to engage the public in the collection of data on timing of leafing, flowering, and fruiting of plants
  • What’s Invasive!: submit geotagged photos and observations of invasive species
  • IveGot1: Identify and report Invasive Species in Florida
  • Nature’s Notebook Android App: from USA-NPN’s. Record observations on hundreds of species of plants and animals, as well as add new locations and species to your list in the field.
  • iMapInvasives: online tool for invasive species reporting and data management.
  • the USDA National Agricultural Library has a webpage with smartphone applications for invasive species monitoring and identification: link
  • Loss of the Night: for estimating the brightness of the night sky as part of a project on light pollution
  • BirdLog: the official app for data entry into the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s bird project.
  • Secchi: the Secchi Disk project encourages participation in a global study of phytoplankton in the sea by creating and using their own secchi disk.
  • mPing: report on precipitation
  • Marine Debris Tracker: log trash on coastlines and waterways
  • NoiseTube: monitor noise pollution with your smartphone
  • CalFlora: report native plant occurrences in California and then visualize them on the CalFlora map.
  • Creekwatch: monitor the quality of your local watershed
  • resources to develop your own Citizen Science Project, including app building (NB: looks *really* comprehensive and certainly has applications beyond CS, I think).
  • Urubu Mobile: Developed by Brazil’s Federal University in Lavras’ Center for The Study of Road Ecology (UFLA/CBEE) this cool app is used to register animal roadkill to study and mitigate the impacts of roads (read more here and here). Available for download for Android phones here.  PS “Urubu” is “vulture”in Portuguese…typical Brazilian sense of humor!

Teaching Tools

Communication Tools and Productivity


11 Responses

  1. Leeds Big Data Week (big data for conservation biology) | Katatrepsis

    […] (recording where precisely the species of interest are found).  We have considered the use of existing web apps as well as particular programs, and data collection could be by a combination of skilled surveyors […]

  2. Friday links: pay an undergrad to critique your teaching, apps for field biologists, meiosis > John Rawls, and more | Dynamic Ecology

    […] Bruna maintains a great list of apps for smartphones that may be of use to field biologists. ht: Karen Lips via […]

  3. Smartphone apps for smartbiologists | kjmacleod

    […] Well, now that’s officially productive thanks to the hip kidsters at the University of Florida, who have put together this smashing list of apps for field biologists. […]

  4. Identify UF campus trees with your smartphone

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    […] Bruna maintains a page that lists useful smartphone apps for field […]

  6. Smartphones in the field | Ambika Kamath
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    […] to become dependent on this technology–but in the meanwhile, I’ll be checking out this list of apps for field […]

  7. Must have SmartPhone Apps for the Field Ecologists. | Enquist Laboratory news blog

    […] The Bruno Lab has a nice series of recommendation for SmartPhone Apps for the Field Ecologists. Increasingly we find ourselves relying on our phone apps for not only data entry but also natural history, note taking, recording, remembering key must have/to do items etc. I was about to write a post about this but this lab link covers most of what the lab uses. […]

  8. Gadgets and Gear | ProjectBlueMonkey
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    […] on Ipads to enter data. There are many, many, many data collection applications out there (see for a great list) and expensive programs designed for research collection (e.g. Observer by […]

  9. The Best Smartphone for Fieldwork | Felicia Lasmana

    […] Brunalab Probably the fullest check list of smartphone apps so far that may suitable for your needs including data entry & recording observation, environmental data, field guides, mapping, GIS & GPS, fieldwork utilities, teaching tools citizen science, communication tools and productivity. […]

  10. Coming soon! | Apps for Science
    Coming soon! | Apps for Science at ·

    […] We are working on the site, so check back soon!  In the meantime, why not check out this list of apps: […]

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