Citizen Science and
The Central AZ Community Wildflower Survey

plant hopper eclosedBeginning in the spring of 2015, we launched the Central Arizona Community Wildflower Survey, a collaborative research project composed of citizen scientists, land managers, ecologists, and students in support of conservation of native, near-urban Sonoran Desert ecosystems.  In this project, we are investigating two primary questions: (1) How does proximity to the urban environment affect diversity and abundance of spring Sonoran Desert annual plants in urban open space parks?, and (2) Does experimental nutrient enrichment affect wildflower diversity and abundance in similar ways as the urban environment?  

Through our collaborative efforts, The Community Wildflower Survey project aims to:


  1. nemacladus rigidus bloomConnect ecologists and students with local citizen scientists to conduct ecological monitoring, data analysis, and outreach activities in open space parks in metropolitan Phoenix,
  2. Strengthen ongoing research activities within an urban-rural gradient experiment of the Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-term Ecological Research project (CAP LTER),
  3. Involve ASU graduate students and undergraduate students in community-based ecIMG_0377ological research and teaching,
  4. Develop outreach materials for park managers on ecological monitoring activities and results, including species inventories and urban pollution impacts, and
  5. Develop outreach materials for local park interpretive programs, including citizen scientists’ photos and field notes, and presentations/materials on urbanization and open space resource conservation.

Do you want to participate in ecological research in our open space parks?  If you are already familiar with Sonoran Desert plant identification, or you would like to learn how to identify plants, please email Sharon here for more information!

Dr. Sharon J. Hall, Arizona State University
Stacie Beute, Central Arizona Conservation Alliance
Kara Barron, M.S. Student, Arizona State University
  • Wheeler, M.M., S.L. Collins, N.B. Grimm, C. Clark, R.A. Sponseller, and S.J. Hall. “Global change in the desert: Effects of increased nitrogen on diverse annual plant communities.” Poster presented at the Ecological Society of America Meeting, Portland, OR, August 2017.

Central Arizona Conservation Alliance (CACAZ)
NSF LTER/Central Arizona–Phoenix Long-term Ecological Research Program (CAP LTER), BCS-1026865