Standard Presentation (15 mins) Australian Marine Sciences Association 2022

Collaborative reef citizen science (#108)

Adam Smith 1 2 , Nathan Cook 1 2 , Al Songcuan 1 , Rachelle Brown 1 , Matthew Wilkie 1 2
  1. Reef Ecologic, Townsville, QLD, Australia
  2. James Cook University, Townsville, QLD, Australia

Citizen science is transforming research and providing important information on biodiversity, protected species, pollution, climate change and other issues important to reef managers and the community. There are many individual citizen science programs that focus on one issue or one habitat. Our vision was to bring organisations together to maximise efficiencies and outcomes with an integrated citizen science field based program. Reef Ecologic have collaborated with multiple citizen science programs and associated organisations including the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Reef Check Australia, CoralWatch, GBRMPA, Museum of Underwater Art, Citizens of the GBR, Tangaroa Blue, local tourism businesses and Traditional Owners.  We have selected and monitored 22 sites between Orpheus Island, Palm Island and offshore Townsville reefs. Through our efforts we have created 5 iNaturalist projects and trained over 1000 people in using different citizen science techniques over the past 7 years. Our 2021 Citizen Science Workshop led to the discovery of a 400-year old coral bommie (Muga Dhambi) which was published in Scientific Reports, authored by acclaimed marine scientists, Traditional Owners and youth, and has had a global media reach. We ensure quality citizen science and quality environmental outcomes by measuring carbon emissions and offsetting.