10 years of citizen science reveals what’s on the move around Australia
Redmap Team, 25 Aug 2022.
The Redmap Report Card reveals Australia's fishers, divers and other ocean users have been instrumental in detecting dozens of marine species moving south around Australia.
With a combined effort from the marine community, scientists and citsci project teams, the Redmap Report Cards establish which species appear to be moving further south, and how certain we are about those changes. Altogether, 2045 unusual or out-of-range observations were reported for 197 different species with 77 species identified as likely to be moving southward over the last decade. Dozens of these ‘range extensions’ were first reported, and the information made available to scientists, thanks to Redmap citizen scientists.
The results (link below) are presented as a big poster showing changes in distribution all around Australia and as state-based report cards for NSW, Tas and WA.
But why the move down south?
Redmap Australia will have been up and running for 10 years this December (even longer in Tassie!). To help celebrate Redmap’s 10 year anniversary, we have teamed up with iNaturalist and Reef Life Survey to create a decadal national assessment of how your observations have been useful in determining which species are shifting as the climate warms!
This is because many parts of Australia’s coastline get a double whammy in terms of ocean warming – it gets the underlying warming most of the ocean is experiencing, AND a strengthening of currents. Many currents, such as the East Australian Current, are moving further and faster down our coast bringing warm, tropical waters with it and making south-eastern Australia one of the fastest warming regions of the world's oceans.
The contribution of information from Aussie fishers and divers has been crucial in providing an early indication of how species distributions are changing in response to climate- and it means that scientists have a much greater capacity to predict what future challenges and opportunities we might have in our coasts and oceans.