National Resources

Redmap data use

Redmap Team.

We've put together an overview of how the data that you collect are useful...

Divers (Credit Amelia Fowles)

The list below provides an overview of the potential ways the Redmap data can be used.

Evaluation of range shifts

Ultimately, we are interested in assessing if a change in species distribution has taken place, but this is actually quite difficult and can be complicated. However, we have developed a systematic, transparent, and repeatable 'decision tree' process that assesses the strength of evidence we have that a species may have changed its distribution (i.e. undergone a ‘range shift’). This method examines how certain we were of the historical range boundary (i.e. known distribution range) and then what evidence we have for out of range observations (i.e. identified by Redmap).

E.g. Robinson LM, Gledhill DC, Moltschaniwskyj NA, Hobday AJ, Frusher SD, Barrett N, Stuart-Smith JS, Pecl GP (2015). Rapid assessment of an ocean warming hotspot reveals "high" confidence in potential species' range extensions. Global Environmental Change. 31: 28-37

Earliest indication of possible shifts

Individual sightings or groups of sightings may also be used to direct research by providing an early indication of possible species changes (i.e. provide an early warning system).

Redmap observations may identify areas or species that may be subject to change – highlighting the need for further examination by researchers, or possibly managers (e.g. toxic algae or venomous jellyfish etc.).

For example, Redmap data has been used to underpin/develop several new research projects, including:

- Physiological mechanisms and consequences of climate-driven range extensions in pelagic fish (yellowtail kingfish Seriola lalandi and the snapper Chrysophrys auratus)

- Direct and indirect measures of thermal tolerance in the potentially range shifting Eastern rock lobster

- Poleward bound: mechanisms and consequences of climate-driven species redistribution in marine systems (examining variety of species reported out-of-range through Redmap)

Redmap sightings have led to research projects that have provided some important information about changing distributions of species. For example: first reports of Octopus tetricus in Tasmania by local divers led to investigations with commercial octopus fishers – who revealed they had been catching this ‘new’ species over the previous few years. We then initiated a student project which demonstrated via genetic analysis that this species had indeed undergone a recent and rapid shift in distribution. The species was also confirmed as reproducing at the range edge in the new range extension area.

- Ramos J.E., Pecl G.T., Moltschaniwskyj N.A., Strugnell J.M., Leo´n R., et al. (2014). Body Size, Growth and Life Span: Implications for the Polewards Range Shift of Octopus tetricus in South-Eastern Australia. PLoS ONE 9(8): e103480. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103480

- Ramos J, Pecl GT, Semmens JM, Strugnell JM, León RI, Moltschaniwskyj NA. 2015. Reproductive capacity of a marine species (Octopus tetricus) within a recent range extension area. Marine and Freshwater Research.

- Ramos et al (in review). Recent range extension of a marine species (Octopus tetricus) reveals population genetic structure and sustained genetic diversity. Global Change Biology

Smaller data contributions to larger studies

Provide unique contributions of additional data to support larger projects.

Redmap provides a unique data source that is made available to everyone – fishers, divers, scientists and managers, as well as interested community members. After each observation is verified by a scientist it’s then displayed on the web for everyone to see. Sometimes this data is used by larger projects, adding important and unique data to the information they have from other sources.

- Johnson, C.R., Banks, S.C., Barrett, N.S., Cazassus, F., Dunstan, P.K., Edgar, G.J., Frusher, S.D., Gardner, C., Haddon, M., Helidoniotis, F., Hill, K.L., Holbrook, N.J., Hosie, G.W., Last, P.R., Ling, S.D., Melbourne-Thomas, J., Miller, K., Pecl, G.T., Richardson, A.J., Ridgway, K.R., Rintoul, S.R., Ritz, D.A., Ross, D.J., Sanderson, J.C., Shepherd, S.A., Slotwinski, A., Swadling, K.M., and Taw, N. (2011). Climate change cascades: shifts in oceanography, species' ranges and subtidal marine community dynamics in eastern Tasmania.  Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 400: 17–32.

- Last, P.R., White, W.T., Gledhill, D.C., Hobday, A.J., Brown, R., Edgar, G.J., and Pecl, G (2011). Long-term shifts in abundance and distribution of a temperate fish fauna: a response to climate change and fishing practices. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 20: 58-72.

Detailed examinations of particular observations

Some single observations, or groups of observations reveal useful/interesting biological phenomena and are worthy of detailed examination and reporting in the literature. Some of these examples include:

- Couturier LIE, Jaine FRA, Kashiwagi T. (2015) First photographic records of the giant manta ray Manta birostris off eastern Australia. PeerJ 3:e742

- Grove, S. and Finn, J. (2014). Unusual strandings of greater argonautArgonauta argo in southeast Tasmania, Autumn 2014. The Malacological Society of Australasia, No. 151.

- Grove, S. (2014). Invasion of the Argonauts! The Tasmanian Naturalist 136: 67-73.

- Stuart-Smith, J., Pecl, G, Pender, A, Tracey, S, Villanueva, C, Smith-Vaniz, W (2016). Southernmost records of two Seriola species in an Australian ocean-warming hotspot. Marine Biodiversity doi:10.1007/s12526-016-0580-4.

Informing or underpinning projects about citizen science, science communication or adaptation to climate change

Redmap Australia has two main objectives – ecological monitoring to inform changes in species distribution and to engage the marine community on issues of marine climate change (using their own data). Many of the papers listed here (and others in review/in prep) report on the success of that second aim, engagement with the broader marine community.

- Pecl et al (in review). Large-scale approaches to ecological monitoring and community engagement through citizen science. Bioscience 

- Nursey-Bray M, Stuart-Smith J. Pecl GT (in review) Engaging communities: Citizen science, social learning and climate change. Ecology and Society.

-  Martin V, Christidis L, Pecl GT (2016). Public Interest in Marine Citizen Science: Is there Potential for Growth? BioScience (in press).

- Madin, E.M.P, Ban, N.C., Doubleday, Z.A., Holmes, T.H., Pecl, G., and Smith, F. (2012). Socio-economic and management implications of range-shifting species in marine systems. Global Environmental Change, 22: 137-146.

- Martin V, Christidis L, Lloyd DJ, Pecl GT (2016). Understanding drivers, barriers and information sources for public participation in marine citizen science. Journal of Science Communication

- van Putten, I. E., et al. (2016). Recreational fishing in a time of rapid ocean change. Marine Policy, 76: 169–177. (

Reporting to the community on changes occurring in our marine ecosystems

To highlight potentially range-shifting species in specific areas we developed a ‘report card’. Currently this is available only for Tasmania, however we are in the process of applying for funds to make this report card automated and available for each state.

The Tasmanian report card is available here:

‘Other’ species reported via Redmap

Redmap has ‘listed species’ (see where we explain what species to look out for in particular locations. However, many people spot ‘other’ plants and animals that they know or suspect are unusual for a given area, or may just be very rare or poorly understood.

Many of the sightings submitted to Redmap that are not designated as technically ‘out-of-range’ have been valuable for improving our knowledge of the distribution of poorly known or rare species, and Redmap has contributed species distribution data to the Australian Faunal Directory ( 

Larger-scale responses of marine systems

A recent Honours Thesis “First sightings: Harbingers of species range shifts or false alarms?” examined a global dataset of out-of-range observations from the literature. This study found that first sightings were related to longer-term climatic processes (independent of sampling effort), and could therefore have potential use to indicate likely climate-driven range shifts. The development of an approach to detect impending range shifts at an early stage will allow resource managers and researchers to better manage opportunities resulting from range-shifting species before they potentially colonise.

Now that we have a global ‘proof of concept’ of this approach, we plan to adapt this analysis using Redmap data.

If anything is unclear or you'd like to talk to us about using the Redmap data or if you would like a PDF of any of the above papers, please contact us:


Redmap is funded by

Lead institutes