Citizen Science Projects in Australia

With the rise of popularity of Citizen Science in Australia, the Australian Citizen Science Association has created a “Australian Citizen science Project Finder” app to help potential volunteers to connect with projects that interest them. This was developed in conjunction with Australia’s research organisation – the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The CSIRO had already developed (in 2006)  the “Atlas of Living Australia” (ALA), an online repository of sightings of Australian plants, animals which is also the Australian node of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.

Projects listed in the Australian Citizen Science Project Finder can also add to data to the ALA.  Currently there are 504 projects in the project finder of which 57 directly add data to the ALA.

The projects listed on the Project Finder vary greatly. Figure 1 shows the type of sciences the projects cover. The largest category is biodiversity (16.1%) followed by ecology and the environment (13.6%) and then animals (11.9%).

Some of the projects are very local such as Agnes Water Turtle Monitoring, which is limited to recording turtles along the Agness Water coastline. Other are applicable to for all states, for example FrogID which helps track what is happening to Australia’s frogs around the country by recording frog calls.

Some projects are available only for a short period, such as the ACT Centenary BioBliz. Of all 504 projects 105 projects have been completed and others go on indefinitely.

Projects per State

Since there is a great difference between populations in the states, it may be of interest to compare the number of projects in each state per 100,000 person. This shows that the smaller states (Northern Territory and ACT) have the most projects per 100,000, due primarily to their access to the large number of global projects, as well as their local projects.