Sea Search app launched by Parks Victoria

Volunteers can now use the new Sea Search app to help monitor and protect Victoria’s rich marine parks.

A new app was launched today by Parks Victoria to enable volunteers and citizen scientists to better monitor Victoria’s unique marine life and environments.

Parks Victoria staff member at Mushroom Reef Marine Sanctuary. Image credit: Parks Victoria

Sea Search is Parks Victoria’s marine citizen science program, which collects valuable information on the state of Victoria’s marine national parks and sanctuaries. It enables the community to contribute to biodiversity surveys on and in Victorian waters.

Data collected using the Sea Search app is uploaded into the Atlas of Living Australia’s (ALA) powerful citizen science platform, BioCollect.

The app is a fun, interactive and new approach for volunteer citizen scientists (members of the public interested in science and research activities). Parks Victoria has developed the app in close collaboration with the ALA so that volunteers can easily add and find information and Parks Victoria can manage marine areas with the best and latest information.

The Sea Search program has been running since 2005, with volunteers collecting data on paper datasheets in the field, which needed to be manually and laboriously entered into a database. The new app helps participants identify what they’re seeing – from sea snails to fishes, octopuses to sea stars, and penguins to seals. This information is instantly uploaded from volunteers’ phones or tablets to Parks Victoria for review and public release.

“Our protected marine environments in Victoria are incredible places to visit – getting the best information helps us manage and protect them for the future,” said Victorian Government Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio at the launch.

BioCollect supports the needs of scientists, ecologists, citizen scientists and natural resource managers in collection and management of biodiversity, ecological and natural resource management (NRM) data. The tool was developed by, and is hosted by, the ALA and is free for public use.

Since 2010 the ALA has been working with more than 100 organisations across Australia, providing support to their citizen science activities. Through this we have gained a deep understanding of the citizen science landscape across all biodiversity-related domains and the issues which confront people organising projects, the public wanting to participate in projects, and scientists needing data in their research.

BioCollect supports the growing needs scientists wanting to engage the public in their research and the public wanting to participate in important scientific work.

The BioCollect app can be downloaded to a mobile device and through BioCollect volunteers can access Sea Search. Download BioCollect at Google Play and Apple store.

Victorian Government Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio launching the Sea Search app on February 28 2018. Image credit: Parks Victoria

Seagrass monitoring volunteers in Corner Inlet. Image credit: Parks Victoria