Standard Presentation (15 mins) Australian Marine Sciences Association 2022

The Redmap Report Card: A citizen science-driven assessment of marine species redistributions around Australia (#111)

Barrett Wolfe 1
  1. University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, Australia

Climate-driven changes in species’ distributions affect ecosystem structure and function, impacting fisheries and conservation, presenting potential challenges for management. A recent review of the scientific literature [1] revealed 198 species shifting in Australian waters, but also substantial gaps in our knowledge. Over the past decade, several citizen science programs have collected large amounts of species observations that could be used to help address these gaps, but these databases have not yet been systematically searched and analysed to characterise species redistributions. We used a peer-reviewed qualitative decision tree analysis [2] to assess potential extensions of marine species distributions around Australia, with data from three citizen science projects (Redmap; iNaturalist, especially the Australasian Fishes project; and Reef Life Survey). This analysis considers historical (i.e., recognised as of 2012) distribution limits, along with species traits (e.g., migratory behaviour, detectability) and evidence provided by citizen scientists’ data (e.g., possible overwintering and/or multi-year observations) to assess overall confidence of potential species redistributions occurring among a list of 200 species which have been tracked by Redmap over the past decade. Our findings provide an early indication of priority species and regions where targeted scientific research may be appropriate. Further, results of the assessment have been incorporated into “Report Cards” for NSW, TAS, WA and nationwide. The report cards provide communication tools that demonstrate the scientific value of citizen science, and are being disseminated to engage with the broader public on climate change, using their own information.

  1. Gervais, Champion and Pecl 2021; 2 Robinson et al. 2015