How to increase awareness of hidden species

One of the developed drafts stressing the value of freshwater pearl mussels

Bias in Conservation Attention: the Example of Imperiled Freshwater Pearl Mussels (Margaritifera margaritifera)

A master thesis presents how the visualization of artists is needed to overcome lack of empathy about organisms allien to us. Using the example of the Freshwater Pearl Mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) Vera Baron explains the importance of raising the awareness for hidden organisms under the water surface. Different proposals and drafts for a possible awareness and marketing campaign are developed.

Although several of the most threatened species groups either live in freshwater
ecosystems or depend on them at some point of their life cycle, the taxonomic groups such as mammals and birds receive much greater attention.

The master’s thesis presents how visualisation can help to engage people about local species and habitats at their own front door and not to associate species protection only with rain forests and African Big Games.

Visual approaches hold a great potential when it comes to science communication in general and conservation communication or marketing in particular. For campaigns to achieve maximum success, conservation and the fields of art or design should definitely be thought together. In practice, for the work of ENGOs, conservation agencies, institutes and associations combining science and art can be quite promising. Including specialists with expertise in both sectors in their teams is likely to be very beneficial for their public relations work, the societal support they receive and, ultimately, the impact they make in protecting our planet’s flora and fauna.


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