Why Citizen Science Matters

What is citizen science?

Citizen science encompasses a range of activities, ideas and goals.  Environmental citizen science projects may be driven by grassroots efforts to understand the natural environment, scientific research needs, a desire to build community engagement, finding a solution to a particular environmental challenge and many more.  At the core of most programs is the goal for volunteers to partner with scientists to systematically collect information that helps to answer real-world questions.

Why is citizen science valuable?

Citizen science generates a range of benefits, for science, individuals, communities and the Reef.  

Engaging the general public in data collection can enhance the scope of scientific research - getting volunteers involved in research allows data to be collected more frequently, or over larger areas.  But citizen science is not just useful for scientists - citizen science projects contribute to diverse education initiatives, sharing the passion for science and our unique reef environments.  Citizen science also provides a great way for communities to work together to protect reefs.  By collecting data and sharing this with decision makers, communities can advocate for improving or maintaining management of their local environment. 

  • Making marine and coastal citizen science matter (2014)
    • Citizen science is an effective approach for marine and coastal conservation.
    • It is time for this underutilized resource to become a more prominent approach for marine and coastal conservation.
  • Australia's Chief Scientist Occassional Paper: Building Australia through citizen science (2015)
    • Citizen science can be a powerful demonstration of what can be achieved when different stakeholders work together to address critical issues.
    • Working collaboratively to discover where information gaps exist, and better understand the expertise, experiences and values of each group, would help to focus citizen science projects to where they are most needed and valued