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Citizen science key in solving fishy mystery

13 December 2019

Museum of Tropical Queensland and citizen science project REDMAP are joining forces to encourage people to help scientists map fish movements along the Great Barrier Reef and across Australia.

 

The REDMAP (Range Extension Database and Mapping Project) display will open at the museum on Saturday 14 December, showcasing which marine species are known to be on the move and how people can get involved in tracking them.

 

In recent years, fish species are being located further and further away from their original breeding grounds, and with more than 1500 species of fish on the reef, spanning 2300 kilometres, marine scientists are hoping citizen scientists can help them track and understand their movements.

 

Queensland Museum Network CEO Dr Jim Thompson said the museum has had many successful collaborations with citizen science projects that have helped researchers with their projects. 

 

“We encourage anyone with an interest in marine life to visit the display at the museum and sign up to become part of this community and help the team find answers and understand more about the world around us.”

 

Museum of Tropical Queensland Senior Curator of Marine Invertebrates Dr Sue-Ann Watson said REDMAP works on the idea of everyday people contributing information to help scientists record and track potential changes in the distribution of marine species.

 

“Currently thanks to REDMAP, there is evidence that many species are moving south of their current habitats, following the warmer waters,” Dr Watson said.

 

“The long term goal is for marine institutions to have a thorough understanding of all species’ movements so we can map their locations and understand why these changes are occurring.”

REDMAP Queensland coordinator Associate Professor Jan Strugnell from the College of Science and Engineering at James Cook University said citizen scientists will be the eyes and ears of researchers out on the reef.

“A huge number of divers, snorkelers, fishers, photographers and boaties visit and enjoy the Great Barrier Reef each day. They have an active interest in the reef, a familiarity with the areas they usually visit, and can help us spot the unusual or unexpected.

 

Originally launched in Tasmania in 2009, this year REDMAP celebrated 10 years of citizen science. The REDMAP website and app has been used by over 1 000 000 people who have contributed to the understanding and protection of marine life.

 

REDMAP Queensland has been active since 2018 and so far has received had 47 public submissions.

 

REDMAP is open at the Museum of Tropical Queensland from Saturday 14 December 2019 – 7 June 2020 and is free with Museum admission.

The ‘Extending the success of REDMAP Australia to Queensland’ project is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. REDMAP Queensland is funded by Inspiring Australia, an Australian Government Initiative.

For more information and to download the app visit Google Play, App Store or https://www.redmap.org.au/

ENDS

Media Contact: Andrea Hughes 07 4726 0604 or 0497 347 117   andrea.hughes@qm.qld.gov.au

 

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