Citizen science

SANBI is involved in citizen science initiatives through iSpot and virtual museum projects such as the South African Bird Atlas Project.

Carmel Mbizvo launches iSpot at Moyo, Kirstenbosch

iSpot launch 2012

The citizen science portal iSpot southern Africa was launched in June 2012.  Through iSpot, ordinary citizens can capture images and share identifications, comments and knowledge.

iSpot is unique in that it encompasses all biodiversity –  plants, invertebrates, birds, fungi, fish, mammals and diseases – in a national database of biodiversity distribution records.  Users can access forums, distribution maps, taxonomy, keys, surveys, and link to the Encyclopaedia of Life or the South African Red List for any species.  If you would like to be part of an iSpot bioblitz and join scholars, novices, scientists and conservationists and blitz a site to capture as many observations as possible, please contact

The booklet Biodiversity early warning systems: South African citizen scientists monitoring change edited by Phoebe Barnard and Marienne de Villiers is a result of a collaboration between SANBI, the Animal Demography Unit of the University of Cape Town and the South African Department of Environmental Affairs.  The booklet is a celebration of the achievements of our citizen scientists and can be downloaded from the ADU website (4.2 MB).