Professor Davi Cunha was one of the first research scientists to lead a FreshWater Watch project. In 2012, as part of the HSBC Water programme, he began to lead citizen scientists to monitor nutrients and harmful algal blooms in streams in Curitiba, São Paulo, and Rio De Janeiro. Under Davi's leadership, the work of FreshWater Watchers in these three cities led to several ground breaking scientific publications on stream health in urban areas (PloS ONE 2016; Science of The Total Environment 2017; Freshwater Science 2019).
Davi and his team of volunteers
Davi and his team of citizen scientists are now investigating how changes in the environmental conditions on the land that surrounds a waterbody can improve the health of the water itself. They are focusing presently on the Lobo Reservoir, a strategic aquatic system that provides drinking water, hydropower, fishing, and recreational activities for three municipalities (São Carlos, Itirapina and Brotas), with about 300,000 inhabitants. Nutrient pollution has been causing harmful algal blooms in this reservoir and affecting the use of the water for these municipalities, so the work of Davi's team is vital to understand how this precious resource can be protected for future use.
Looking forward to 2020 and beyond, Davi and his team of citizen scientists in Brazil have made themselves available to test new methods in freshwater citizen science, including the use of data obtained from sensors, drones, and satellites, as part of the EU funded MONOCLE project.