Upcoming coastal and marine citizen science webinars

Thursday, July 18, 10 am Australian EST

Effective Citizen Science for Coastal and Marine Environments: Latest Research, Redmap Australia, Reef Watch, and Feral or In Peril. The data requirements for conservation and resource management are vast and can seem overwhelming.  One of the most alluring possibilities to address this challenge is to crowdsource at least some of the data collection through citizen science. Citizen science is the use of nonprofessionals in any part of a scientific process, but most commonly in data collection, validation, and analysis. Citizen science has particular interest and appeal for marine data collection because the marine environment is difficult and expensive to survey.  Resource managers and conservationists can harness the activities and efforts of boaters, kayakers, divers, surfers, fishers, and other ocean users to monitor and protect the environments these groups love and depend on.  In addition, citizen science is growing in appeal and possibilities thanks to the popularity of cell phones: these devices dramatically increase the capability of nonprofessionals to collect data (including high-resolution images and sounds), transmit data, and georeference observations. There are many challenges involved in obtaining and using data produced by nonprofessionals, particularly the challenge of avoiding data-quality problems such as sampling bias. On this webinar, three marine citizen science experts from Australia will talk about their research and programs and answer questions about how to get an effective citizen science program off the ground. The presentations will run for ~45 min, but the presenters will be available for 90 min to allow ample time for questions/discussion. Featured presenters and projects are:

  • Carla Sbrocchi of the University of Technology, Sydney. Carla is currently completing a research study on the contributions of citizen science in the coastal and marine environment in Australia and will present an overview of her findings.
  • Gretta Pecl of the University of Tasmania. Range Extension Database and Mapping (Redmap) allows Australians to share sightings of marine species that are ‘uncommon’ to their local seas. Over time, Redmap will use this citizen science data to map which Australian marine species may be extending their distribution range in response to changes in the marine environment, such as ocean warming. Learn more at www.redmap.org.au.
  • Alex Gaut of the Conservation Council South Australia. The Reef Watch monitoring program provides recreational scuba divers, snorkelers and others with the skills to gather valuable information about temperate reefs (both subtidal and intertidal). Reef Watch survey methods are scientifically valid and provide data that is comparable with data collected by scientists. Data is provided to relevant government agencies to improve adaptive management of marine ecosystems. Learn more at www.conservationsa.org.au/reefwatch-home.html. Feral or in Peril is building an early warning network of recreational divers, anglers and boaters to help keep track of introduced marine pests that are a potential threat to marine ecosystems as well as local species of conservation concern. Learn more at www.conservationsa.org.au/feral-or-in-peril.html.  Monitoring Seas and Inspiring Communities (MOSAIC) is a brand new program starting with two pilot projects to implement citizen science in South Australia’s new marine park network.

 Register for the webinar at https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/803572384.

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