All eyes on the water
Last month the marine website Redmap was launched nationally and allows anyone to log on and submit sightings of marine life not usually found in their local area as part of a climate change research project.
The original project has encouraged Tasmanian fishers and divers to submit photos of unusual marine species through a website since 2009. Now the project has gone national and sporting a new website, anyone in Australia who works, plays or uses the marine environment can be part of this unique citizen science project.
The data will be used to identify marine fish that are shifting out of their normal range in response to the rising temperature of Australian waters.
Associate Professor Natalie Moltschaniwskyj is the coordinator of Redmap NSW and expects marine species to show a mixed reaction to this change in temperature. She predicts that while some species adapt, others will move into new areas or disappear from an area.
These sightings will help indicate if marine species are relocating permanently or just seasonally.
Redmap is interested in sightings of marine life deemed uncommon to an area and is not limited to just fish. Photos of turtles, sharks, rays, crayfish, corals, seaweeds, urchins and prawns are all welcome and will be reviewed by a network of scientists around the country to verify the species identity and ensure high-quality data.
The website will also host information and news on diving, fishing and the marine environment. A smart phone app is set to be launched this year to make accessibility easier and quicker.
Overtime Redmap hopes to become the largest monitoring program for Australia’s coastline that monitors changes in the marine environment and educates the community about the impact of climate change.
For more information, visit www.redmap.org.au
Redmap is a large collaborative project led by the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at the University of Tasmania, and involves The University of Newscastle, James Cook University, the South Australian Department of Industry and Resources, The Museum of Victoria, the Western Australia Department of Fisheries and the University of Adelaide. The expansion of Redmap nationally was made possible with generous funding from an Australian Government Inspiring Australia grant, the Australian National Data Service (ANDS) and the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) . Redmap also receives support from Mures Tasmania and many fishing, diving and community groups around the country.