Citizen science involves public participation and collaboration in scientific research with the aim to increase scientific knowledge. The Australian Citizen Science Association is a great resource for those interested in delving deeper into the opportunities available to get involved.
Participation in citizen science projects is a way to expand information available on local databases. There are many project options available for people to contribute to - some projects simply ask you to record a sighting while others might involve transcribing data from natural history collections. Projects which might be of interest include:
- Aussie Backyard Bird Count - The Annual count is scheduled in October of each year and is a great way to connect with the birds in your backyard no matter where your backyard happens to be. Sightings are welcome from suburban backyards, local parks, a patch of forest, by the beach or even the main street!
- DigiVol - Decipher collections, discover hidden archives and contribute to knowledge on plant and animal life. Institutions using DigiVol include the Australian Museum and CSIRO
- Echnidna CSI - Data collected via the EchidnaCSI app will contribute towards an Australia wide echidna distribution map, provide insight into echidna biology and help with community education and engagement. Launched in 2017, a dedicated phone app allows the public to record observations of echidnas whenever they see them out in the wild. The project also encourages the identification and submission of echidna scats for molecular analysis.
- Feral Cat Scan - a free website and mobile app where you can record feral cat sightings, impacts (such as predation of native species) and document where control has been undertaken. Information you upload can help with humane, justified and effect management of feral cat populations.
- Fishes - The Australasian Fishes project allows you to upload, identify and comment on observations of Australian and New Zealand fishes. The site is building up an extensive 'image library' that can be used to identify fishes, map their distribution and investigate changes in growth, pattern and shape.
- FrogID - Australia has over 240 known species of frog, almost all of which are found nowhere else in the world. FrogID is a national citizen science project that is helping us learn more about what is happening to Australia's frogs. All around the country, people are recording frog calls with nothing more than a smartphone. FrogID has enabled a better understanding of the true species diversity, distribution and breeding habitats of Australian frogs. Monitoring frog presence at sites over time is also helping us understand how frogs and ecosystems are responding to a changing planet - from fires, droughts, floods and urbanisation.
- iNaturalist Australia - A member of the iNaturalist Network, observations submitted are added to the global iNaturalist database and shared with the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA) and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility to help scientists find and use your data. All you need to do is install the mobile app, observe and record your organisms that you observe.
- WomSAT - Wombat numbers are declining and help is needed to protect them by recording where you see wombats and their burrows in your local area. Become a Wombat Warrior today!