SPIPOLL, take pictures of pollinating insects
Are you patient and observant? Are you a nature lover who wants to help science? The citizen science program SPIPOLL (Photographic monitoring of pollinating insects) is for you! By photographing the variety of insects foraging on flowers, you will help researchers obtain data on the state of biodiversity.
The SPIPOLL citizen science program wants to make you a pollinating insect paparazzo! These little six-legged creatures are major players in biodiversity. As they flit from flower to flower, bees, butterflies, flies, beetles, bugs and ladybirds disseminate pollen and enable plants to reproduce and thus survive. But some populations, such as bees, suffer from the use of pesticides or the artificialisation of the soil. Others, however, are taking advantage of global warming to extend their influence, such as the Asian hornet. What is the impact on biodiversity, and what developments can be expected? To answer these questions, the Museum needs you!
Participating in SPIPOLL is not rocket science! There’s no need to be an expert. All you need is to show an interest, have a bit of time to spare and follow the instructions. Grab a digital camera, choose a flowering plant and photograph it, along with all the insects that come to gather nectar and pollen from it over a twenty-minute period. You can do this on your balcony or in the countryside, during your lunch breaks or on a walk, in summer or in winter, but all the instructions are important in order to follow the scientific protocol. For the most motivated participants, a long version extends the observation period to up to three hours! Then select a photo for each insect and post it on the SPIPOLL website or app and try to identify your specimens. Use of the digital tools PlantNet and Xper3 will assist you in this task, and so will the SPIPOLL community (as three different confirmations are needed to validate the identification you have made).
Launched in 2010, SPIPOLL is part of the Vigie-Nature citizen science program. Tens of thousands of contributions have already enabled us to conduct several research jobs. Scientists have, for example, documented declining populations of butterflies, beetles, ladybirds and flies in cities, as well as a reduction in the variety of species in each group. In the south of France, they are also monitoring the rapid establishment of a large wild bee originating from Asia, Megachiles sculpturalis. But to take the project further, even more people are needed. This will make the data more exhaustive and more reliable!