Snap, submit and share: be part of citizen science this Easter

If you have not seen the Easter bunny yet, you might have better luck seeing some incredible marine creatures out on the Great Barrier Reef over the Easter school holidays.

At a time when the Reef is teeming with activity, turtles, dolphins and sharks are just a few of the sightings visitors to the Reef can look out for while on the water.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Tourism and Education Manager Fiona Merida encouraged Reef visitors to snap their best photo or video of interesting marine animals and submit it through the Eye on the Reef app to contribute to science.

“Easter is a great time of year for Reef visitors to contribute to citizen science,” she said.

"So far during March 2018 there has been over 50 different species sightings submitted through the Eye on the Reef app — including humpback dolphins, scalloped hammerhead sharks and manta rays.

“When you’re out on the Reef and see an interesting marine creature, you can safely take a photo or video and then report what’s called a sighting through the Eye on the Reef app.

“It only takes 30 seconds and you don’t need phone reception for it to work.

“You report what you’ve seen, where you’ve seen it and upload a photo or video. Once that is done, the app gives you the option to post the sighting to your Facebook page.

“With the Reef the size of Italy, we rely on others to help us document all of its activity. If Reef visitors submit sightings through the app it helps us to know the Reef better to protect it for the future.

“We also share some of the unique sightings from the app on our own social media channels. Our Facebook page alone has a following of 70,000 people.”

Once a sighting is submitted and shared, notifications are sent to various organisations to consider action and data analysis, so every sighting counts and makes a contribution to scientific research.

Anyone can view what people submit by visiting the Sightings Network on the Authority’s website. Even if you can’t make it out on the water over the break, you can still see the wonderful experiences others have.

The app and the Sightings Network include facts and interesting information on over 200 protected and iconic species, making it educational and informative for school age children over the Easter break.

The app also has the capacity to submit multiple creatures at once and sightings of incidents such as marine debris and crown-of-thorns starfish.  

Download the Eye on the Reef app from www.gbrmpa.gov.au

View the Sightings Network at www.gbrmpa.gov.au/sightings-network