Coastal communities contribute to marine science through new website

REDMAP screengrab
REDMAP screengrab
Image: Dianne Bray
Source: REDMAP

Media contact: Alex Dook
adook@museum.vic.gov.au

Fishermen, divers and boaters across Victoria can now assist scientists in better understanding changes to marine ecosystems by logging sightings and photos of uncommon species seen along their local coast – such as fishes, crayfish, sea urchins, prawns, turtles, whales and dolphins.

The Victorian node of REDMAP, a national online citizen science website, is being led by Museum Victoria Senior Collections Manager Dianne Bray, in collaboration with the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at the University of Tasmania (UTAS), supported by Inspiring Australia.

"Redmap promotes awareness of the effects of a changing climate by engaging marine communities in this large-scale monitoring project. By recording the observations of people who spend their time out on the water, Redmap is covering a huge area of coastline and essentially including these citizen scientists in the research team. It's a two-way partnership," says Ms Bray.

"Data from Redmap has already been used in peer-reviewed scientific journals. We hope that capturing changes in species distribution will improve knowledge of how our seas are changing – benefitting coastal communities as well as industry."

Redmap is the brainchild of UTAS marine ecologist Dr Gretta Pecl, who started the project after noticing species of fish off the Tasmanian coast that had not been seen there previously. "Water temperatures in south-eastern and south-western Australia are warming at three to four times the global average, and with those changes comes a change in species distribution."

Photographs submitted to Redmap are checked by a large team of scientists from across Australia, and then mapped on the website. "Simply put, Redmap turns observations made by people out on the water into usable scientific data," said Dr Pecl.

Redmap is available at: http://www.redmap.org.au

Dianne Bray will speak about the Victorian node of Redmap on Tuesday 15 October at 6pm in the Melbourne Museum Theatre. Admission to the talk is free.

Museum Victoria Public Relations contact:
Alex Dook, 8341 7141 / 0478 348 880, adook@museum.vic.gov.au

For all general public enquiries, contact the museum's Discovery Centre

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