Birds can help with seed dispersal, which is crucial to the propagation of berries and other plants. A new app developed by researchers from DEEP is meant to help the general public report observations on birds and what berries they eat.

Responsible researchers: Matilda Arnell (doctoral student), and Ove Eriksson (professor),

An app to survey birds’ seed dispersal

Seed dispersal may occur if the plant has edible fruit and thus offers the bird food. We can look at it as if the plant gives the bird a reward for dispersing the seeds. The idea of the app is that interested members of the general public can report when they see a bird eating berries, including the species of bird and plant. The app was published in the middle of August, and without the help of the public, it would be impossible to gain a complete picture of all of Sweden and the whole berry season.

“I would have to sit with a pair of binoculars in front of a rowan tree until I saw a bird, and then move on to another location. It would be impossible to collect enough data that way,” says Matilda Arnell, doctoral student at DEEP, which runs the project.