New fish in sights of citizen scientists
The rusty jobfish, the midnight snapper, and oblique-banded sweetlips are among the new targets for citizen scientists following the re-launch of the Redmap project in Queensland at JCU today.
JCU’s Associate Professor Jan Strugnell is the coordinator of Redmap in Queensland. “Redmap stands for Range Extension Database and Mapping. It invites citizens to spot and log marine species uncommon in their local area,” she said.
Dr Strugnell said Redmap is interested in ‘out-of-range’ or unusual observations - the ‘arrival’ stage of species potentially moving into a new area as a result of warming waters or other phenomena.
“Many marine species all over the world are being documented as shifting their distribution towards the poles, which means further south for us in the southern hemisphere.
“In the south-east of Australia this is occurring at an average rate of 29 km/decade but more than 100km/decade in some species. It’s crucial that we keep an eye on what is happening in Queensland waters and our citizens can play an important role in helping with that,” she said.
Dr Strugnell said millions of Australians enjoy diving or fishing every year and like taking photos of fish or other marine critters they see or catch.
“Redmap allows this to become valuable scientific information. It’s a significant and unique data contribution.”
She said that most of the data so far is from south-east Australia where the program first started, and where Redmap had been instrumental in developing a strong understanding of species and ecosystem changes occurring in the region.
“Redmap observations have been used in over 25 scientific publications, and have also triggered focused studies on particular species, providing an indication of where limited resources for research could be constructively directed,” said Dr Gretta Pecl, Redmap national co-ordinator.
Redmap has won over 10 regional, national and international awards since its inception, including a ‘best paper’ award at the World Conference on Climate Change Communication, and has been a finalist in the Eureka Awards twice.
Queensland Redmap will relaunch and introduce new species to its monitoring list at JCU Townsville on Wed 22 August 2018 in the ATSIP seminar room from 10-11 am.