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Citizen Scientists will Explore the Seafloor during National Science Week

National Office

Crowd-sourcing will contribute to marine research when National Science Week invites citizen scientists to take part in Explore the Seafloor and help marine scientists with their work.

Throughout August, thousands of volunteer citizen scientists will help map the location of kelp and sea urchin populations and track how these organisms are responding to changes in the oceans.

Massive sea urchins are heading south on the East Australian Current, turning healthy kelp beds into marine lunar-scapes, denuded of seaweed and sea life. With the loss of the seaweed forests, biodiversity collapses with potentially significant environmental and economic impacts to fisheries and tourism.

Scientists from research centres and universities around Australia have collaborated to develop Explore the Seafloor with ABC Science, creating an informative website where citizens can register, learn to identify photographs from under the ocean and submit their observations to the research group.

An ocean-going autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) called Sirius has collected millions of seafloor images at sites located around Australia. The AUV belongs to The University of Sydney’s Australian Centre for Field Robotics and is used around the country as part of Australia’s Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS).

Participants in Explore the Seafloor will contribute valuable work to two significant marine science projects and put themselves in the running to win an underwater camera for some exploration of their own.

After less than a week the site has more than 1800 citizen scientists registered who have already processed over 33 000 images

Join in and help at www.exploretheseafloor.net.au