The process may have taken awhile, (for some longer than than the two years collaboration with the University of Adelaide,) but finally the Wild Orchid Watch app is now available for all Australians to use.
So why orchids…
- Orchids are iconic and somewhat mysterious plants that are highly valued by sections of our society.
- They are sensitive to environmental change most of which puts the survival of populations at risk of being lost permanently.
- Orchids tend to be indicators of ecosystem health.
- They are dependent on other parts of the ecosystem such as fungi within the soil and particular insect pollinators .
- These insects are also dependent on a functioning ecosystem for their survival.
Thus, when orchids are conserved other parts of the ecosystem are also conserved resulting in broader benefits to the ecosystem as a whole.
So, why an app …
- traditional methods of data collection for orchids are inadequate because of their
- differences in emergence with seasons
- short flowering, sometimes non-flowering, seasons
- allows the collection of a wealth of knowledge known to orchid enthusiasts
- this method of collecting data enables researchers to gain a better understanding of
- the conservation status and trend of orchids
- the value of orchids as indicators of environmental change
- the phenology (life cycle), distribution and abundance of orchids
The WOW app allows citizens scientists to provide important data for researchers.
Bonus Benefit of the App – Identification
Probably one of the most frustrating things for the novice is not knowing what is the species of orchid that they have found. With this app it is not necessary to be familiar with all the orchid species.
The WOW app uses the iNaturalist platform where there is a whole community ready to assist with identification.
One can be an orchid citizen scientist without a detailed knowledge of orchids.
So, hop over to the WOW website to find more information, instructions and download the app.