Using Facebook to find citizen scientists for systematic roadkill surveys

Te-En Lin1*, Wan-Jyun Chen1, Yi-Lun Lin1, Chih-Yun Chen1, Yu-Kai Chen1, Yihong Chang1 and Kristina Chyn2

1. Endemic Species Research Institute
2. Texas A&M University
Email:, TaiRON:

2018 Australasian Network for Ecology and Transportation (ANET) Conference, Victoria, Australia


The“Taiwan Roadkill Observation Network” (TaiRON), a citizen scientist project hosted by the Taiwan Endemic Species Research Institute (TESRI), began in August 2011. There are 3,450 citizen science contributors, which have recorded 551 species and 63,227 observations throughout the past 6 years. However, data from opportunistic crowdsourcing is limited, as it is not methodological or statistically robust. Importantly, this opportunistic data is inherently biased cannot be used to accurately predict the annual amount of roadkill occurrences in Taiwan, where the real roadkill hot spots are, or the differences in trends between seasons and years. To amend our current statistical shortcomings in the TaiRON database, we are conducting systematic roadkill surveys by engaging our citizen scientists. To systematically sample, we have divided Taiwan to 1,440 25 sqkm grids, seven eco-regions, three levels of road density, and four categories of road types. A total 420 sampling grids were selected by stratified random sampling methods with proportional allocations from every eco-region and road density level. The volunteer citizen scientists are given their pick of the 420 grids to sample. All of the sampling grids must be surveyed in January, April, July and October per annum. Citizen scientists are required to survey two or more road types in every sampling grid, and every route must be longer than 3 km. This program started this past January, 2018. 192 grids have been confirmed and surveyed. Our goal is to survey more than 252 grids every season to gain enough systematic sampling data for research in mitigating roadkill in Taiwan. We are also conducting roadkill survey method bias studies between different modes of transportation, includjng walking, cycling, riding a motorcycle, and driving a car. The TaiRON citizen science group continues to grow, and we believe volunteers from social media are a rich source of engaged citizens for scientific research.

Keywords: Citizen scientists, Facebook, systematic roadkill survey, Taiwan Roadkill Observation Network