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Data from: Tradeoffs in moving citizen-based anuran call surveys online during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic: lessons from rural Appalachia, USA

Cite this dataset

Smith, Walter; Hamed, Kevin (2021). Data from: Tradeoffs in moving citizen-based anuran call surveys online during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic: lessons from rural Appalachia, USA [Dataset]. Dryad.


Citizen science approaches provide adaptable methodologies for enhancing the natural history knowledge of understudied taxa and engaging underserved populations with biodiversity. However, transitions to remote, virtual training and participant recruitment in response to public health crises like the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic have the potential to disrupt citizen science projects. We present a comparison of outputs from a citizen science initiative built around call surveys for the Mountain Chorus Frog (Pseudacris brachyphona), an understudied anuran, in Appalachian Virginia, USA prior to and during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. A transition to virtual training in this initiative did not lead to a decrease in scientific output and led to unexpected natural history insight about our focal taxon; however, a reliance on virtual instruction did decrease overall participation by local residents, particularly for rural K-12 students. We discuss the tradeoffs exhibited by the adaptation of our initiative to a virtual format and provide recommendations for other citizen science initiatives facing similar restrictions in the face of current and future public health crises.


This dataset represents verified citizen science submissions for Mountain Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris brachyphona) across southwest Virginia, USA in 2019 and 2020. Project participants recorded observations of calling Mountain Chorus Frogs from private and public lands following training by the project investigators, recording audio and/or video evidence of calling frogs with their smartphone device. Only those observations that could be verified by accompanying audio/video or photographic evidence are included. We have processed the data presented here in two important ways: (i) removing the names of observers to align with institutional protocols involving the use of human subjects, replacing names with generalized observer categories (Student Trainees and Non-Student/Amateur Naturalist Participants), and (ii) obscuring geographic coordinates to two decimal places. The latter step was taken to avoid presenting precise locality data for our focal taxon, which is of high conservation concern, at the recommendation of our state's wildlife agency, as well as to avoid publishing the precise locality data for private citizens' places of residence, where several observations were made.

Usage notes

Please see the Methods description accompanying this dataset for information on the dataset's geographic coordinates. The "Habitat Type" and "Landownership Type" columns reflect the location of each observation relative to aquatic habitat features and public versus private lands, as determined via field visits and remote sensing data. "Submission Format" refers to the type of data (audio/video recording, photograph) used by citizen scientists to communicate observations with the investigators.


Wildlife Foundation of Virginia

Wildlife Foundation of Virginia