Wildlife agency seeks 'citizen scientists' to watch mayflies
LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) -- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials are recruiting "citizen scientists" to gather field data to help better predict when millions of the mayflies will swarm the banks of the Mississippi River.
A website and smartphone apps have been developed to allow volunteers to gather and submit field observations. A fisheries biologist with the agency tells the La Crosse Tribune (http://bit.ly/1H0YtSv ) that the technology will allow those with little training to record standardized observations that will be uploaded to public databases available to scientists.
The chief visitor services manager for the Upper Mississippi River Fish and Wildlife Refuge says the approach aims to collect data and encourage people to visit to 240,000-acre refuge.
Mayflies burrow in the mud of the riverbed as larvae and fly upstream after emerging as mature insects.