Ecologists from the University of Tartu, Estonia invite you to take part in a pan-European citizen science initiative ‘Looking for Cowslips‘. The cowslip campaign was piloted in Estonia for two consecutive springs in 2019 and 2020. It received a warm welcome by the public and led to exciting and surprising research findings recently published in Journal of Ecology. Therefore, we would like to broaden the geographic scope of the study to other European countries where cowslips are part of the local flora.
Our team of Landscape Biodiversity at the University of Tartu uses the cowslip (Primula veris), a characteristic grassland plant, as a model for exploring the effects of grassland loss on plants. We found that a seemingly small botanical detail, i.e. heterostyly, in cowslips may have substantial consequences for the future and well-being of this nice grassland plant. With this project we hope to collect data to improve fundamental research on plant mating systems and to provide understanding of the consequences of grassland loss for biodiversity. The task for citizen-scientists is easy and based on observing cowslip heterostyly. See the figure below illustrating the two flower types of cowslip. To find out more, see also this short animation.
We hope to find partners who could help with spreading the information about the campaign in their home country. Our team will translate the campaign materials and guidelines into local languages, including the web-tool for uploading data as well as adapt the animation into your local languages. We will coordinate the international communication and will give quick feedback about the progress of the campaign.
We are happy to provide more details about the project. Please let us know about your interest in joining the cowslip team here. You are also very welcome to forward the invitation!
We hope that you can let us know about your tentative interest ASAP, but preferentially before the end of February. Do not hesitate to contact us for further information (firstname.lastname@example.org)!