Redmap: ecological monitoring and community engagement through citizen science
Pecl, G and Barry, Y and Brown, R and Frusher, S and Gartner, E and Pender, A and Robinson, L and Walsh, P and Stuart-Smith, J, Redmap: ecological monitoring and community engagement through citizen science, Tasmanian Naturalist, 136 pp. 158-164. ISSN 0819-6826 (2014) [Professional, Non Refereed Article]
Waters around Australia are warming at between 2-4 times the global average, facilitating polewards shifts in the distribution of many marine species. Monitoring for such changes in the distribution of species along the 60,000 km of Australia’s coastline presents several ongoing challenges. These include a lack of historical data to determine accurate historical distributions and significant funding constraints that limit the extent of contemporary monitoring programs. However, there are a large number of people collectively spending significant time in, on or around our seas, often with meaningful knowledge of their local species and environments, yet their observations are not routinely recorded, verified, collated, stored and therefore made accessible. Additionally, many people now have the capacity to record their observations with high precision and accuracy via digital technology even if their personal knowledge is not complete. Redmap (Range Extension Database and Mapping Project) is a website-based citizen science initiative where community members submit photographic observations of ‘out-of-range’ species that are then verified post-hoc by an Australia-wide network of scientists. Redmap began as a pilot project in Tasmania at the end of 2009 before expanding across Australia three years later. Here, we give an overview of Redmap to date, concentrating on the Tasmanian aspects of the project.