Blue Mountains News

Echidna Spotters Wanted: Do You Have What It Takes to be a Citizen Scientist?

Source: Atlas of Living Australia
Archived 17 Mar 2018 - Posted: 20 Jan 2018
Image with thanks from Pixabay
Echidnas are elusive creatures and are difficult to spot in the wild. While they are one of Australia’s iconic animals, scientists know very little about them. But hopefully that’s about to change.

A research group lead by Professor Frank Grutzner at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide hope to identify where the Echidna populations are and whether they are under threat and in need of conservation efforts.

As echidnas are so difficult to spot, a study of echidna populations throughout Australia was never considered feasible, until now. The Atlas of Living Australia is assisting by providing access to their BioCollect  database and a University of Adelaide PhD student Alan Stenhouse has developed a mobile app – Echidna CSI – allowing the Grützner research team to store and analyse the data.

Members of the public can sign up to Biocollect and help gather valuable information. You can report sightings as well as collect and mail in echidna scat samples. The project is publicly available via the Australian citizen science project finder. This means large amounts of data can be collected across a huge area.

You can download the app and record sightings wherever you are which helps communication between the research team and their huge team of citizen scientists. Since the launch of Echidna CSI in September 2017 over 1500 people have signed up and reported over 850 submissions and delivered 80 scat samples.

So if you get out and about in the local wilderness, or even have a little friend living at the bottom of your garden, you can get involved and help with this research project and become a real life citizen scientist.

You can download the Echidna CSI app via the Atlas of Living Australia website.

 

 
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