What is citizen science?

Citizen science occurs when members of the general public take place in crowdsourcing, data collection and data analysis for scientific enquiry.

Many citizen science projects are active in South Australia right now – explore a few below!  Maybe one will tickle your fancy.

citizen science


Hot off the press

NRM need your help:

Natural Resources Management for the  SA Murray Darling Basin area are calling out for citizen scientists to help assess water levels along the River Murray. All you have to do is grab your trusty smart phone and follow these steps:

1. Stand as close as is safely possible to the edge of the water
2. Open a new tweet in Twitter
3. Enter the hashtag #murrayflows and write a tweet telling us where you are (e.g. riverbank near Renmark Hotel)
4. Include a photo or video if you like (especially if you can hear frogs!)
5. Hit the location icon, and turn on ‘Share precise location’ (this will include the GPS coordinate from the phone in the tweet)
6. Press tweet!
How to turn on Share Precise Location here.

If that’s not quite your thing, you can join the Feather Map project to monitor waterbirds in your local area. Citizen scientists are asked to report bird sightings, collect feathers and more. Head to the website for full details of the many ways you can get involved.

Citizen Science spreads across the Murray & Mallee region:

Enthusiasm for citizen science projects has seen a rise in the number of participants in the Murray & Mallee region. Several new programs have been launched with the aim to protect the local environment. Find out more about some of the amazing projects.

National Science Week 2016 Citizen Science Project: WildLife Spotter

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Help save threatened species and preserve Australia’s iconic wildlife!

Become a citizen scientist and assist researchers by looking for animals in wilderness photos taken by automated cameras around Australia.

We have over 1 million images taken by automatic cameras from many beautiful parts of Australia, but we need to know if there is an animal in each photo, and if so, what type of animal it is. By sharing the load we can get through the images faster – that’s the power of citizen science.

Anyone can join in and you can do it all online      Become a wildlife spotter now


Citizen Science Resources

The April 2017 edition of the journal Biological Conservation is dedicated to citizen science. The issue features articles on using citizen science to improve conservation, case studies of successful citizen science projects, leveraging citizen science in decision making and much more.

Current projects: UniSA

The Discovery Circle at University of South Australia provides opportunities for members of the general public to contribute to research and learn about local natural environments.

This project involves modelling the distributions of birds across Adelaide and using this model to predict the impacts of future development (e.g. low-density or high-density housing). This information will be useful for planners and developers to assess and plan new developments.

We are looking for volunteers to conduct bird surveys at set locations in Adelaide during 2016 and early 2017.

Yes, I want to do this!  

Ever wondered where your cat ventures to?

Now’s your chance to find out, with Cat Tracker. The project is designed for cat owners, but school classes can also get involved.

We will report your cat’s results to you – your cat’s personality and where your cat went (depending on which parts you complete).

Yes I want to do this!  

Goannas are the last remaining large, native, terrestrial predators in southern South Australia.

You can help to gather valuable information needed on goannas in South Australia. This information is vital for the development of management strategies to address the loss of goannas.

Yes I want to do this!  

Discover our changing landscape! FlukerPosts are designed to engage the wider community to help monitor change in local environments, like parks, creeks or wetlands.

Current FlukerPost locations:

  • Breakout Creek
  • Highbury Aqueduct
  • Kaurna Wetlands
  • Oaklands Wetland 1 (overlooking the wetland)
  • Oaklands Wetland 2 (overlooking a revegetation site)
  • St Kilda
  • Whites Road Wetland

Yes I want to do this!  

Can you help us study little corellas?

Large flocks of small white parrots known as little corellas cause considerable problems in urban and rural South Australia.

We would like to better understand factors that lead to particular sites being popular with flocks of little corellas and problems for the local community.

Yes I want to do this!  

A BioBlitz involves a team of scientists and naturalists working with the public to discover and record the life of a park or reserve.

BioBlitz events include activities for all ages, experienced and novice naturalists, and anyone who wants to contribute and learn.

Upcoming BioBlitz events:

  • Saturday 8 October: Cobbler Creek
  • Saturday 29 October: Warriparinga Wetlands

Yes I want to do this!  

Current Projects: Uni of Adelaide

TREND – Transects for Environmental Monitoring and Decision Making – is a component of the Australian Transect Network, a long-term research and monitoring program dedicated to understanding how species and ecosystems change over space and time.

Citizen Science is a key focus of TREND and allows the community to understand and become involved in vital climate adaptation research. As we move towards times of more climatic uncertainty, TREND’s Citizen Scientists can use the latest technologies to directly contribute to data collection, and access current research and information on the implications for South Australia.

Yes I want to do this!  

Do you want to be a citizen scientist, and help researchers learn about the world we live in?

Be part of The Caterpillar Conundrum project, and help scientists learn about caterpillars and their parasitoids.

Yes I want to do this!  

Current Projects: Natural Resources Adelaide/Mt Lofty Ranges

Frog Watch was created to help build a state-wide picture of our frog species and what may be needed to help them.

Now you can use the FrogWatch SA website and the FrogSpotter mobile app to record frog calls and where they occurred, then send the information to experts for identification and inclusion in a national database.

You might even become a frog expert yourself!

Yes I want to do this!  

The Highbury Aqueduct Reserve is a popular community park for walking, gardening, exercising and conservation.

Now you can contribute towards the ongoing care of the Reserve by taking photographs from fixed photo-points (FlukerPosts) and sending them to our researchers.

Yes I want to do this!  

Current projects: Flinders University

Over 1 million individuals from the clownfish family (Pomacentridae) are taken from the reef every year for the aquarium trade. In some areas they are now going extinct from overcollection and coral bleaching. The good news is that clownfish breed easily in nurseries unlike Regal Blue Tangs (Dory) where 100% are still being taken from the wild.

Our solution is to supply aquarium stores with nursery bred fish, to educate consumers and to lead scientific research focussed on conservation.

We exist to protect marine aquarium species for future generations.

Yes I want to help!  


Other news: SA Chapter, Australian Citizen Science Association

A group of people interested in starting a South Australian chapter of the Australian Citizen Science Association (ACSA) met at the Astor Hotel on Monday 4th July. The objectives of the meeting were to gauge interest in a local ACSA chapter, and to discuss what a local chapter might do. Attendees included staff and students from the Department of Environment (DEWNR), NRM Regions, universities, the State Herbarium, schools, and the Inspiring Australia State Manager.

The group agreed to continue meeting, on the first Monday of each month, except January, at the Astor Hotel. The meetings will provide an opportunity for practitioners of citizen science (those who run or support citizen science projects) to discuss the development of citizen science and share learnings, networks, resources and projects. Each future meeting will include a round-table discussion of South Australian projects, new developments in the field, and an in-depth discussion of a pre-selected research paper or report on citizen science. In addition, the group plan to invite specialists to quarterly topic-focussed meetings to discuss related areas such as technology, data management, and education. Members of the group will also seek to develop relationships with similarly aligned stakeholders in the state, such as regional science hubs and teacher associations (SASTA and GTASA). The group will seek to become a formal chapter of ACSA and share information through the ACSA website (www.citizenscience.org.au).

The most recent meeting was held on Monday August 1st, at which attendees discussed the research paper Strategies Employed by Citizen Science Programs to Increase the Credibility of Their Data.

For further information, please contact the volunteer convenor, Brianna Le Busque (brianna.le_busque@mymail.unisa.edu.au).