Written by Geoff Vivian for the Science Network WA on Tuesday June 12, 2012.
VOLUNTEERS with smart phones will soon be invited to participate in a massive and continuous survey of Western Australia’s wildlife.
Marine Biologist Associate Professor Lars Bejder says the automatic date, time and GPS stamping of smart phone photographs will make casual contributions by “citizen scientists” valuable to science.
Professor Bejder, who runs Murdoch University’s Cetacean Research Unit, noted the attempt last year to have the newly-described snubfin and humpbacked dolphins (Orcaella heinsohni and Sousa chinensis) listed as threatened.
He says the Federal Government rejected the application because there was not enough data to show the species’ distribution—a situation he expects the new project to help remedy.
“We can very quickly start getting a picture of the distribution in regards to these snubfin and humpbacked dolphins,” he says.
According to its website, the latter provides “geospatial datasets, maps, watershed models and baseline imagery to aide in planning, implementing and monitoring ecosystem projects”.
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