センター本試験 ２０１５年度 第６問 単語
Catching Bees and Counting Fish: How “Citizen Science” Works
(1) It’s a sunny afternoon here in Texas, and my wife Barbara is at the park again, counting and recording ()the number of eggs ()laid by ()monarch butterflies. After collecting her data, she’ll ()share it with the professional scientist who ()recruited her. In another ()state, our friend Antonio listens for ()frogs by visiting 12 different ()sites, four ()times a year. He has been ()submitting his findings to scientists for almost 20 years now. And on the other side of the country, our ()niece Emily is catching ()native bees, putting ()tiny ()tags on them, and ()handing in ()weekly reports to the ()biology ()departement at a ()local university. Nobody is ()paying Barbara, Antonio, or Emily for their ()efforts, but all three ()consider themselves lucky to be “()citizen scientists.”
(2) When volunteers ()participate as assistants in activities like these, they are ()engaging in citizen science, a ()valuable research technique that invites the public to assist in ()gathering information. Some of them are science teachers or students, but most are simply ()amateurs who enjoy spending time in ()nature. They also ()take pride in ()aiding scientists and ()indirectly helping to protect the environment. The movement they ()are involved in is not a new one. In fact, its ()roots ()go back over a hundred years. One of the earliest projects of this type is the Christmas Bird Count, started by the National Audubon Society in 1900. However, citizen science projects are ()burgeoning ()more than ever: over 60 of them were ()mentioned at a meeting of the ()Ecological Society of America ()not long ago.
(3) In ()formal studies, professional scientists and other ()experts need to ()maintain the ()highest possible standards. For research to be accepted as ()valid, it must not only be ()thorough, but also ()objective and ()accurate. Some might ()argue that citizen scientists cannot maintain the necessary ()attention to ()detail, or that amateurs will ()misunderstand the ()context of the ()investigation and make mistakes when collecting and ()organizing information. ()In other words, can citizen science be considered truly ()reliable?
(4) Two ()recent studies show that it can. The first ()focused on volunteer knowledge and skills. In this ()study, a scientist ()asked volunteers to ()identify types of ()crabs ()along ()the Atlantic coast of the US. He found that almost all adult volunteers could ()perform the ()task and even ()third graders in ()elementary school had 80% ()success rate. The second study compared professional and non professional methods. Following a strict traditional procedure, a group of 12 scuba divers identified 106 species of fish in the Caribbean. Using a procedure designed by professionals to be more relaxed and enjoyable for volunteers, a second group of 12 divers spent the same amount of time in the same waters. Surprisingly, the second method was even more successful: this group identified a total of 137 species. Results like these suggest that research assisted by amateurs can be trusted when scientists organize it.
(5) The best citizen science projects are win-win situations. On the one hand, the scientific community gains access to far more data than they would otherwise have, while spending less money. On the other hand, citizen science is good for the general public: it gets people out into the natural world and involved in scientific processes. Additionally, when people take part in a well-designed study that includes training to use equipment, collect data, and share their findings, they have the satisfaction of learning about new ideas and technologies.
(6) I find it encouraging that the list of scientific studies using citizen scientists is quickly getting longer. Still, we’re just beginning to realize the potential of citizen science. More scientists need to recognize how much volunteers can contribute to professional research. As I see it, it’s time for us to expand the old, conservative view of “science for people” to include a more democratic one of “science by people.”
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