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).

Teaching Tools

Communication Tools and Productivity


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