A new iPhone App ‘The SMARTER Ambrosia Reporter’!

SMARTER-App-flyer_Page_1-Link-sidebarThe SMARTER Ambrosia Reporter is out!  This iPhone Application is especially developed by and for SMARTER to report ragweed throughout Europe. It is available for free at the App Store.

What is this App?

The SMARTER Ambrosia Reporter is based on the Dutch App ‘Ambrosia Melder‘ successfully developed by Stichting Flora van Nederland to report Ambrosia artemisiifolia (common ragweed) in Netherlands. The SMARTER Ambrosia Reporter is adjusted to report common ragweed in Europe, and extended to report additional site data. This is crucial to get a overview of its distribution on the continent and to better fight this plant!

Features:

  • Available in 4 languages: English, German, French, and Italian
  • An option to switch from the basic form (1-2 minutes to report your finding) to a professional form, which includes a detailed description of the site (5-20 minutes to report)
  • We validate your report, and give feedback whether you indeed reported Ambrosia artemisiifolia or not.

With this App, we aim to collect as many observations as possible of the noxious, allergenic, invasive plant Ambrosia artemisiifolia, common ragweed,  on the European continent . The more people contribute, the more useful the submitted information will be. We therefore welcome people from all over Europe who speak any of the above languages to use this App. A pilot study on the involvement of laymen as “citizen scientists” will be undertaken in Switzerland and the Netherlands. We encourage researchers to choose the ‘professional’ report form.

The SMARTER team thanks you for your important contribution when using this App! Good luck uncovering Ambrosia in your environment.

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Why this App?

The SMARTER Ambrosia Reporter is developed to report populations of the invasive noxious plant Ambrosia artemisiifolia, common ragweed, in Europe. The aim is to get a better overview of the occurrence and abundance of ragweed throughout the continent. This will help to develop strategies to control the plant at a transnational scale, one of the main objectives of SMARTER.

Specific to this App, as compared to many other Apps, is the detailed additional information you can provide about the site. This is of great importance for improving our understanding of the biology of this noxious plant! Professionals

The App can also be used to report the finding of the leaf beetle Ophraella communa. This beetle feeds on ragweed leaves, and is used as a natural enemy to control ragweed on other continents. It has recently been discovered in Europe, where it has become established in southern Switzerland and northern Italy.

How to use this App to report ragweed?

If any of these languages is the system language of your iPhone, the App automatically chooses this language.

When using it for the first time, you will be asked to provide personal information. This is kept confidential and will only be used to contact you in case of questions about your report, e.g. when you find something exciting. Before reporting, use the chapter “how to recognise” to verify whether your finding concerns Ambrosia artemisiifolia.

Everyone can then report populations of this plant by taking a picture of an individual plant in the population spotted. It is necessary to switch on GPS on your phone whilst taking a photograph so that location information is transferred with the picture. After that, you are asked to provide basic information about the site. There are two different versions of the App, one for laymen (the default) and one for professionals (e.g. weed practitioners, researchers). Professionals and interested laymen are kindly requested to provide more extensive information about the population found by choosing the professional version of this App. After you have submitted your report, they are stored in ‘My Reports’ on your phone. We will validate your report, by checking whether you indeed reported Ambrosia artemisiifolia. You receive a push message to alert you once it has been validated. You can then find the validation in ‘My Reports’.

How to use this App to report the ragweed leaf beetle Ophraella communa?

Thousands of species of beetle exist in Europe. Please carefully check the picture gallery below to check how the leaf beetle Ophraella communa looks like. If you are pretty sure you found the beetle, use the following procedure.

When Ophraella communa is found on Ambrosia artemisiifolia

1. First report the population of Ambrosia as described above, and mention in the section “damage” that you observed the beetle. Remember the site name and submit the report.

2. Create a new report, now for the beetle.

  • Take a picture of the beetle, from as close as possible. The picture should be in focus and preferably include an adult individual. If no adults are present, photograph a pupa, or a larva.
  • Site name: use the same site name as above but simply add “Ophraella”.
  • Is this a professional report ?: choose “no” (white).
  • Habitat: choose the habitat.
  • Abundance: instead of estimating the number of plants: estimate the number of beetles per plant, and choose that number.
  • Damage: if possible, describe:
    • Incidence: which percentage of the ragweed plants is being attacked by the beetle
    • Stages: if you are sure that you can recognise the different life stages (eggs, larvae, pupae, adults) of Ophraella communa, and you can distinguish them from other species, describe which life stages occur in the Ambrosia population.
    • Damage level: describe the average damage of the plants attacked
  • Remarks: any other remarks on your observation

When Ophraella communa is found on another plant species

Create a new report.

  • Take a picture of the beetle. The picture should be in focus and preferably includes an adult individual. If no adults present, photograph a pupa, or a larva. If possible, include a part of the plant as well. Try to identify the plant, or take a few additional pictures of the plant and send them, together with the site name to
  • Site name: create a site name and add the word “Ophraella”.
  • Is this a professional report ?: choose “no” (white).
  • Habitat: Choose the habitat.
  • Abundance: Instead of estimating the number of Ambrosia plants: estimate the number of beetles per plant, and choose that number.
  • Damage: if possible, describe:
    • Incidence: which percentage of the plants is being attacked by the beetle
    • Stages: if you are sure that you can recognise the different life stages (eggs, larvae, pupae, adults) of Ophraella communa, and you can distinguish them from other species, describe which life stages occur in the Ambrosia population.
    • Damage level: describe the average damage of the plants attacked
  • Remarks:
    • give the name of the plant on which you found the beetle. If you don’t know the name, add a description.
    • Add any other relevant information, e.g. number of these plants attacked by the beetle, vicinity of ragweed populations.

How to change the language of the App ?

The App is available in four languages (English, German, French, and Italian). When one of these is the system language of the iPhone, the app uses it as a default. Otherwise, English is used.

To switch languages:
1. Quit the app,
2. Change language settings of your iPhone in Settings > General > International > Language,
3. Restart the App.

Pour changer de langue:
1. Quittez l’application,
2. Changez la langue dans les paramètres de votre iPhone dans Réglages > Général > International > Langue,
3. Redémarrez l’application

Um die Sprache einzustellen:
1. verlassen Sie die App,
2. Wechseln Sie die Spracheinstellung Ihres iPhones in Einstellungen > Allgemein > Landeseinstellungen > Sprache,
3. Starten Sie die App erneut.

Per modificare la lingua:
1. Esci dall’app,
2. Cambia le impostazioni della lingua del tuo iPhone in Impostazioni > Generali > Internazionale > Lingua,
3. Riavvia l’app