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Kharghar-based doctor launches three apps to study climate change

DNMUM322605 | 12/9/2014 | Author : dna correspondent | WC :375

iNaturewatch, a series of three mobile apps and a brainchild of entomologist, Dr Shubhalaxmi Vaylure and her team of five members was launched on Monday

Vashi: A veritable mine of information about species of birds, butterflies and trees will now be available in iNaturewatch, mobile apps developed by an entomologist, Dr Shubhalaxmi Vaylure and her five-member team. A total of three apps were officially launched on Monday, with an aim to use it for climate change studies in urban ecosystems.
"The app will have image of the species, their common and scientific names, sizes, distribution patterns and other facts. Features that set the app apart from others is that it also includes audio clips of bird calls, life cycle of butterflies and information about barks of trees, as many of them can be identified by studying the barks," said Dr Shubhalaxmi Vaylure, who currently heads a social enterprise.
The apps will be launched in other metros like Hyderabad, Kolkata and New Delhi this week. Dr Shubhalaxmi added that the apps will be available on websites for free, after the last launch is complete, i.e on December 12. The website (www.inaturewatch.com) will become functional on this day.
Besides the development of mobile apps, the project includes a School Citizen Science Programme- Urban iNaturewatch Challenge, wherein city students could take up local biodiversity studies as part of their project work. The apps will be helpful in identifying their local biodiversity and report it back to the project website.
From Navi Mumbai, Don Bosco School in Nerul and Sacred Heart High School in Vashi have been approached for the project. "There would be 75 students from each school, devoting one hour every week to collect data about species in and around the neighbourhood. Ideally, the students of one class will focus on one subject each, i.e birds, butterflies and trees," added Vaylure. A winner school will be chosen from all four metros, based on the maximum records. The project expects to collect 2000 records across the city by end of March 2015.
The team intends to build a database of reports for the next five years and correlate it with climatic data, to ascertain climate change impacts. By collecting information about flowering and fruiting season in trees, sightings of butterflies and birds, they will be able enumerate if there are any change in their patterns, in years to come.


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