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Citizen Science

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Citizen science research

Find out about Citizen Science research at the Barbara Hardy Institute. To see our latest project and register for citizen science updates, please click here.

What is citizen science?

Citizen science is gaining in popularity as a method of research, and for many good reasons. As the term suggests, Citizen science involves the participation of the wider community in scientific projects.

This involvement of the community in research projects is valuable for scientists because we often require a great deal of information to help develop our understanding of the natural world. For example, we collect information about where plants and animals exist, and how their populations are changing. But time and resource availability often limit our ability to collect this information. One solution to this problem is to have more people collecting the information, and this is where citizen scientists can assist. Groups of people (citizen scientists) can collect information over a large area, over a long period of time, or from areas that are difficult to access, such as private property.

By participating in a project, community members get a chance to inform scientists, and in the process, learn more about the natural environment. Volunteer citizen scientists find it rewarding to contribute to scientific research and fun to get involved in hands-on activities (like finding or observing wildlife). The interaction between scientists and the community, and the ability for projects to inform both groups, are perhaps the most exciting outcomes of citizen science research.

New technologies are supporting the growth of citizen science. Information can be collected and submitted via smart-phones or online. These tools allow us to collect all sorts of data, including photos, video, and GPS locations. The future development of these technologies will provide even more opportunities for research through citizen science!

Past projects

Our past projects have been run in collaboration with partners including ABC Local Radio, DEWNR; AMLRNRMB; SA Museum, CSIRO and fauNature.

 Great Koala Count

The Great Koala Count (2012)

We conducted a project to learn more about koala populations in South Australia and about their habitat, activities, threats, and community views on these animals. Around 1,500 koalas were reported on one day. You can view the koala sightings here and further information about the project is available here. Teacher resources for koala projects are also available here.

Citizen Science - Be a Beachcomber

Be a Beachcomber (2011)

This one-day event was focussed on objects found on Adelaide beaches. School groups and the general public participated by bringing along beach artefacts and attending interactive workshops.

Citizen Science - Operation Spider

Operation Spider (2010)

Citizen scientists reported spider species and described their attitudes towards, and management of, spiders in South Australia. Results of the work on attitudes towards spiders are available in a thesis publication here. Teacher resources for spider projects are also available here.

Citizen Science - Operation Magpie

Operation Magpie (2009)

Citizen scientists conducted behavioural observations of Australian magpies and reported information about their interactions with these birds. Results are available in the book, “The Fearsome Flute Players”. Teacher resources for magpie projects are also available here.

Citizen Science - Bring Us Your Bugs

Bring us your Bugs (2 one-day events in 2009)

Around 1,500 people came on each day and brought along over 2,000 invertebrate specimens. Further information about the event is available here.

Citizen Science - Operation Possum

Operation Possum (2008)

Citizen scientists collected information about the distributions of possum species across South Australia and reported their attitudes towards, and management of, possums. Results are available in the book, “The Possum-tail Tree” and in a thesis publication here. Teacher resources for possum projects are also available here.

Citizen Science - Operation Bluetongue

Operation Bluetongue (2007)

Citizen scientists collected information about the distributions of six bluetongue lizard species across South Australia and reported their interactions with these lizards.

To see our latest project and register for citizen science updates, please click here.

 

Click here for information about the book: The Possum-Tail Tree

Book releases

We've released two books based on results of our Citizen Science program.

Find out more about Citizen Science and our program in the book chapter in 'Creating Sustainable Communities in a Changing World'

Click here for information about the book: The Fearsome Flute Players


Find other Citizen Science projects at these sites:

 

 

Areas of study and research

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