Hunting porcupines: citizen scientists contribute new knowledge about rare coral reef species

Chin, Andrew (2014) Hunting porcupines: citizen scientists contribute new knowledge about rare coral reef species. Pacific Conservation Biology, 20 (1). pp. 48-53.

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Abstract

There has been growing interest in engaging citizen scientists in the collection of environmental data to inform conservation efforts and decision making, and to augment formal monitoring programmes. Citizen scientists can collect data across large spatial and temporal scales that cannot be feasibly covered through traditional research and monitoring programmes. The 'Porcupine Ray Hunt' was a pilot study that engaged the Australian recreational SCUBA diving community in collecting information on the porcupine ray Urogymnus asperrimus, an easily identifiable but rare and poorly understood species. 'Crowd sourcing' of recreational divers was achieved by advertising the programme through diving publications, the internet, e-mail lists and social media (facebook and blogs). Dive clubs, dive shops and research stations also advertised the project. Recreational divers were required to submit photographs and observations for verification and 29 new valid records were received. Submissions also included video footage of foraging and mating behaviour. The submissions received doubled the number of existing records on the species in Australia, identified distribution 'hot spots', provided a depth range for the species and extended the species' range. In doing so, the project demonstrated the potential for citizen scientists to contribute valuable knowledge about rare species, addressing some of the knowledge gaps concerning the porcupine ray and providing preliminary data for future research.

Item ID: 34004
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1038-2097
Keywords: citizen science; porcupine ray; coral reef; community monitoring; SCUBA diver
Research Data: http://collections.ala.org.au/public/show/dr886
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2014 04:47
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0608 Zoology > 060801 Animal Behaviour @ 30%
13 EDUCATION > 1399 Other Education > 139999 Education not elsewhere classified @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 75%
90 COMMERCIAL SERVICES AND TOURISM > 9003 Tourism > 900399 Tourism not elsewhere classified @ 25%
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