Citizen science - public participation in scientific research - will be explored at next week's Cafe Scientifique.

A common form of citizen science is where community volunteers use standard methods to collect data to measure changes occurring in their local environment.

University of Waikato PhD student Monica Peters' research centres on the hundreds of community environmental groups throughout New Zealand - mostly made up of volunteers - whose work is dedicated to restoring the environment.

"As well as building a more complete picture of these groups and their projects, I am also investigating how they measure the success of their restoration activities," Ms Peters said.


"This is 'grassroots' citizen science because most group members who carry out the science-based monitoring do not have formal science training.

"Globally, citizen science is growing in importance. Citizen science offers tremendous potential for collecting a wide range of useful data to help us better understand such things as the effects of climate change on flora and fauna; changes to ecosystem health, and population trends and the distribution of flora and fauna species.

"Social outcomes are diverse and include enhancing participants' scientific and ecological literacy."

At Cafe Scientifique, which takes place next Monday, Ms Peters will provide an overview of citizen science in New Zealand, from large-scale scientist-led initiatives to the 'grassroots' citizen science carried out by community groups (within the context of their environmental restoration projects).

"The current research investigates how New Zealand community groups use science-based toolkits to carry out environmental monitoring. This opens a whole range of questions around how communities can participate more effectively in wider decision-making about their local and regional landscapes."

Cafe Scientifique is a Tauranga-based seminar series where anyone can explore the latest scientific thinking and research from national and international speakers in a relaxed setting.

What: Cafe Scientifique - Volunteering for the environment: Growing citizen science in New Zealand. Monica Peters, University of Waikato PhD student.

When: 6.30pm for 7pm start, Monday 18 April 2016

Where: Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club

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