Nav: Home

Flying beauties photoshoot: School kids in the Philippines learn what insects do for rice

September 08, 2016

Science advances society and fosters sustainability, so why not involve everyone in building a better future? Culminating in the first citizen science workshop for arthropods to take place in the Philippines, one of the main objectives of the 5-year, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) coordinated research project, LEGATO, was also to find ways to engage society in collecting research data and applying research findings in practice.

The workshop titled "Flying beauties" took place in August 2016, the second day of the Final LEGATO Meeting, at the Kinakin Primary school, Banaue Municipality, Ifugao Province, Philippines. If focused on butterflies and dragonflies and their roles in the surrounding natural and agricultural landscape.

This workshop was the culmination of several weeks of active preparation together with the different groups of participants, and, in fact, only the set off of the Flying Beauties citizen science competition that will be open until the end of the year.

Thirty students from two local schools and their teachers, alongside a group of senior citizens and tour guides, had the unique chance to take part in an event, where important project results presentation was combined with on-field data collection and testing of findings.

Butterflies and dragonflies are not only attractive insects, but also in the spotlight of LEGATO research due to their relevance for building sustainable rice ecosystems. It comes as no surprise that these two animal groups were also central to LEGATO's citizen science day, where participants were given the simple yet exciting task to find and photograph featured species on field to then enter a photo contest.

Children and adults alike were on the search for species selected by LEGATO scientists on the basis of their importance for rice ecosystems in the region, rarity and conservation status. The exercise combined in one task two key objectives of the project: raising the awareness of people for the beautiful nature around, getting them interested in learning more about it and motivate them to use modern technology to collect data in a playful way.

After several hours on field armed with digital cameras and fresh knowledge on butterflies and dragonflies, the citizen science team came back with a great selection of photographed species. The exercise that took place as a part of LEGATO final meeting was just a first highlight for the Flying Beauties project which aims to showcase the benefits of citizen science, where all kind of people can contribute to biodiversity knowledge and get aware and learn about their local nature.

"We saw some real enthusiasm and I am sure lots of the facts we explained about the different species and their importance for rice will stick with the children taking part," explains Norbert Hirneisen. "We are positive that we created genuine interest to science and its applicability in everyday life in the contestants. Additionally, the photographic evidence collected this day could be useful in further research!"

"Real world impact of research findings can be secured by translating results and passing them on to the end users in an understandable and engaging way," comments project coordinator Prof. Josef Settele, UFZ. "Our event demonstrates how an entertaining approach and use of new technologies can engage citizens in data collecting and re-use of research findings in their everyday lives."
LEGATO is open to collaborate with other projects and to share the developed system and technology.

Find out more on the contest website:

LEGATO is a BMBF (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research) funded project aimed at the elaboration and testing of generally applicable principles within the frame of ecological engineering - an emerging discipline, concerned with design, monitoring and construction of ecosystems.


Norbert Hirneisen

Prof. Josef Settele
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ

Pensoft Publishers

Related Rice Articles:

New rice fights off drought
Scientists at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) have developed strains of rice that are resistant to drought in real-world situations.
Domesticated rice goes rogue
We tend to assume that domestication is a one-way street and that, once domesticated, crop plants stay domesticated.
Protecting rice crops at no extra cost
A newly identified genetic mechanism in rice can be utilized to maintain resistance to a devastating disease, without causing the typical tradeoff -- a decrease in grain yield, a new study reports.
Every grain of rice: Ancient rice DNA data provides new view of domestication history
Now, using new data collected samples of ancient, carbonized rice, a team of Japanese and Chinese scientists have successfully determined DNA sequences to make the first comparisons between modern and ancient rice.
Four newly identified genes could improve rice
A Japanese research team have applied a method used in human genetic analysis to rice and rapidly discovered four new genes that are potentially significant for agriculture.
Infants who ate rice, rice products had higher urinary concentrations of arsenic
Although rice and rice products are typical first foods for infants, a new study found that infants who ate rice and rice products had higher urinary arsenic concentrations than those who did not consume any type of rice, according to an article published online by JAMA Pediatrics.
New resource for managing the Mexican rice borer
A new article in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management provides information on the biology and life cycle of the Mexican rice borer (Eoreuma loftini), and offers suggestions about how to manage them.
Fighting rice fungus
Plant scientists are uncovering more clues critical to disarming a fungus that leads to rice blast disease and devastating crop losses.
The origin and spread of 'Emperor's rice'
Black rice was prized in ancient times for its color and is prized in modern times for its high levels of antioxidants, but its early history has been shrouded in mystery until now.
Trigger found for defense to rice disease
Biologists have discovered how the rice plant's immune system is triggered by disease, in a discovery that could boost crop yields and lead to more disease-resistant types of rice.

Related Rice Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#532 A Class Conversation
This week we take a look at the sociology of class. What factors create and impact class? How do we try and study it? How does class play out differently in different countries like the US and the UK? How does it impact the political system? We talk with Daniel Laurison, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Swarthmore College and coauthor of the book "The Class Ceiling: Why it Pays to be Privileged", about class and its impacts on people and our systems.