BODENTIERhoch4: A new citizen science tool for the determination and monitoring of soil organisms


  • Anika Neu Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Görlitz
  • Andreas Allspach
  • Kristin Baber Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Görlitz
  • Peter Decker Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Görlitz
  • Willi E.R. Xylander Senckenberg Museum of Natural History Görlitz



biodiversity monitoring, Diplopoda, Chilopoda, project engagement, soil animal conservation


Although citizen science (CS) has proven to be a powerful tool to detect man-made biodiversity loss, existing CS monitoring programs are highly biased towards ‘charismatic’ species groups, while others are largely neglected and monitoring data are lacking. This is especially true for the diverse groups of soil dwelling animals. To close this data gap in Germany we started the first CS monitoring program for soil animals with special focus on the identification of terrestrial isopods (Oniscidea), centipedes (Chilopoda) and millipedes (Diplopoda): BODENTIERhoch4. The main functionalities of the combined web and mobile application are outlined. Moreover, we carried out training workshops with interested citizens to transfer basic knowledge of how to use the mobile application, to identify soil organisms and to upload acquired data to a repository. In an accompanying study, we investigated the interrelationship of workshop attendance and long-term commitment as citizen scientists in monitoring programs. Users of BODENTIERhoch4 that a) had attended and b) had not attended a workshop were asked to answer questions related to the efficiency and impact of the workshops. We found that workshop attendance significantly increased the participants estimated knowledge gain, interest in soil animals and, corresponding to that, willingness to further engage in the project. Our results may inspire future CS programs to offer training opportunities for prospective citizen scientists and thereby promote data quality as well as long-term engagement.


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How to Cite

Neu, A., Allspach, A., Baber, K., Decker, P., & Xylander, W. E. (2022). BODENTIERhoch4: A new citizen science tool for the determination and monitoring of soil organisms. SOIL ORGANISMS, 94(1), 29–39.