Poster Australian Marine Sciences Association 2022

Community-based citizen science projects can support the distributional monitoring of fishes (#493)

Joseph DiBattista 1 , Amanda Hay 1 , Mark McGrouther 1
  1. Australian Museum, Sydney

Community-based citizen science projects offer one potential alternative for scientists and managers needing distributional information for fishes but lack sufficient resources to gather it. This imbalance in data gathering is particularly apparent for non-target, small-bodied, and cryptic species. In this poster presentation, we provide an overview on the growth to date for an online citizen science project (Australasian Fishes) hosted on the iNaturalist platform. We additionally analyse data generated from this project to test whether it can assist in the distributional monitoring of a subset of fish species in Australia and New Zealand. Overall, we found that occurrence records for some categories of fishes were well-represented in our quality filtered citizen science data set, particularly endemic fishes whose threat status had not yet been assessed by conservation authorities and species not currently under any form of state or federal management. Despite gaps in coverage among major urban centres, citizen science data for the most represented endemic fishes were qualitatively comparable to the available geographic distributions for these species. We suggest that such filtered citizen science data improves taxonomic and geographic representation to enhance fish monitoring across Australia and New Zealand.