Engaging the public to detect marine species on the move: an in-depth study of important factors from the public’s perspective


Poster will be on display in the Thinking Space for the duration of the conference.


Thinking Space


Vicki Martin

Southern Cross University

If marine scientists needed your help to conduct important scientific research in the marine environment, would you volunteer? What would help or hinder you from participating in the research?

These questions, and more, were explored in a national study of marine users in Australia and their interest in ‘marine citizen science’. Citizen science, which describes projects where members of the public contribute to scientific research in some way, has been gaining considerable attention across the globe for its perceived ability to connect the public with science and scientists, as well as greatly enhancing research capacity to address scientific knowledge-gaps at scales which have previously been unachievable. At the same time, marine science is thought to present good opportunities for the public communication of science generally in Australia, due to the strong connections many of us have with the beaches and oceans. This research brings together recent thinking in science communication, citizen science, and marine science to explore if, why and how the public want to become involved in marine research.

Understanding the public’s perspectives on engaging with citizen science is essential for the long-term success of projects. Using a national online survey, which was developed following face-to-face interviews, this study focussed on two main issues for Australian marine users: (1) general interest in science and volunteering for marine research, and (2) specific interest, drivers and barriers to volunteering for a national marine citizen science program that identifies species shifting their normal range due to climate change impacts.

In all, 1145 fully completed surveys came from every state and territory in Australia. Respondents were interested in a wide range of marine activities, of which the most preferred were SCUBA diving and fishing. The results highlight considerable public interest in marine citizen science and uncovers the significant barriers and drivers for public engagement. Key considerations for project design and volunteer recruitment communication are discussed.

** This poster will be on display during the onsite poster exhibition in Adelaide 23-24 February 2017. No onsite poster presentation will be given, but please don’t hesitate to approach Vicki to discuss this work further! You may also be interested in Vicki’s Citizen Science research presentation available both onsite and livestreamed. **

See Also:

Australian Citizen Science Association: citizenscience.org.au

Redmap: redmap.org.au

Marine Exchanges project: bit.ly/MarineExChanges

Citizen Science Association (USA/Global):  CitizenScience.org

Link to downloadable poster: https://f1000research.com/posters/5-219