[ASC-media] Help protect the Great Barrier Reef without getting your feet wet

Niall Byrne niall at scienceinpublic.com.au
Sun Aug 5 17:28:37 PDT 2018




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Help protect the Great Barrier Reef without getting your feet wet





Dear ASCers

Today

The Great Barrier Reef is big, so big that scientists need your help to track its health.

We’re inviting every Australian to dive through their computer screens into the Reef by taking part in Virtual Reef Diver—the ABC’s online citizen science project for National Science Week and the International Year of the Reef.

“We need the community to pitch in to help us classify thousands of underwater images of the Reef,” says spatial scientist and project leader Dr Erin Peterson from Queensland University of Technology.

“Tell us whether you can see coral, algae or sand, and we’ll be able to get an estimate of the coral cover in that image.”

Seven scientists, divers and science communicators are available for interviews. Contact Suzannah Lyons on suzannah at scienceinpublic.com.au<mailto:suzannah at scienceinpublic.com.au> or 0409 689 543.

Full media release below.

This week: a head start for Science Week with colliding galaxies, musical palaeontology, and Costa talking dirty


  *   Sydney Science Festival opens tomorrow, with everything from an art meets science meets sci-fi exhibition exploring what it means to be human to astrophysics-star Lisa Harvey Smith’s look to the future of the night sky
  *   a singing palaeontologist reveals our prehistoric past—in Rockhampton today and touring regional Queensland and South Australia
  *   green science in the garden with Gardening Australia’s Costa Georgiadis at AridLands EcoFair in Alice Springs, from Thursday.

Read a taste of Science Week highlights from around the country online<https://scienceinpublic.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d83751047dc5a93e0049c04bf&id=0239b13d82&e=7abd449a88>. Scientists are available in all states to talk about the coming events.

We’ll be sharing Science Week highlights, stories and talent throughout at www.scienceinpublic.com.au/science-week<https://scienceinpublic.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d83751047dc5a93e0049c04bf&id=f9c3c74ca2&e=7abd449a88> and on Twitter at @SciWKMedia<https://scienceinpublic.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d83751047dc5a93e0049c04bf&id=418604360d&e=7abd449a88>.

For interviews contact Tanya Ha on tanya at scienceinpublic.com.au<mailto:tanya at scienceinpublic.com.au>, 0404 083 863 or (03) 9398 1416.

Kind regards,

Niall








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Help protect the Great Barrier Reef without getting your feet wet
The Great Barrier Reef is big, so big that scientists need your help to track its health.

We’re inviting every Australian to dive through their computer screens into the Reef by taking part in Virtual Reef Diver—the ABC’s online citizen science project for National Science Week and the International Year of the Reef.

“We need the community to pitch in to help us classify thousands of underwater images of the Reef,” says spatial scientist and project leader Dr Erin Peterson from Queensland University of Technology.

“Tell us whether you can see coral, algae or sand, and we’ll be able to get an estimate of the coral cover in that image.”

At 2,300 kilometres long and covering 350,000 square kilometres, the Great Barrier Reef is bigger than Victoria and Tasmania combined, too big for scientists alone to cover.

“This way people sitting at home can contribute to managing the Reef,” says Erin.

“We’ll combine our 20 years of monitoring data with your classification data, to strengthen our predictive models of the Reef,” says coral ecologist Dr Manuel Gonzalez-Rivero of the Australian Institute of Marine Science.

“This will help managers make critical decisions to protect the Reef for the future.”

Virtual Reef Diver is running for the whole of August and beyond, and anyone with a web-connected computer, tablet or mobile device can join in by going to virtualreef.org.au<https://scienceinpublic.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d83751047dc5a93e0049c04bf&id=bb30107fa2&e=7abd449a88>.

Every five images you classify during August will also give you an entry in a competition to win a GoPro camera.

“Australians care about the Great Barrier Reef but not many of us have experienced it up close or had the opportunity to look after it. Virtual Reef Diver allows anyone in Australia to become a citizen scientist and do their bit to help the Reef,” says ABC Science’s Kylie Andrews.

Virtual Reef Diver is the online citizen science project for National Science Week 2018, undertaken by ABC Science with funding through the Australian Government’s Inspiring Australia strategy.

The project was developed by Queensland University of Technology, in conjunction with a number of scientific and community organisations.

Seven scientists, divers and science communicators are available for interviews about Virtual Reef Diver, and how you can help better protect the Reef for the future.

Media kit, images, and other resources are available at www.scienceinpublic.com.au<https://scienceinpublic.us1.list-manage.com/track/click?u=d83751047dc5a93e0049c04bf&id=f026c6a834&e=7abd449a88>.

To organise interviews, contact Suzannah Lyons on suzannah at scienceinpublic.com.au<mailto:suzannah at scienceinpublic.com.au> or 0409 689 543, or Tanya Ha on tanya at scienceinpublic.com.au<mailto:tanya at scienceinpublic.com.au> or 0404 083 863

More about the project

You can participate in Virtual Reef Diver if you have regular vision and a computer, tablet or mobile with access to the internet.

Each image will have 15 small circles on it, identifying areas to classify, and should take you about one to three minutes to complete.

The first phase of this project is running throughout August. A second phase of the project will commence later this year, and will give citizen scientists the opportunity to upload their own underwater photos of the Reef to be classified.

Virtual Reef Diver aims to encourage regular people to contribute to monitoring and managing the Great Barrier Reef. The data they provide will be fed into predictive models used to gain a better understanding of the ecosystem, inform management decisions, and guide future data collection.

Virtual Reef Diver was developed by Queensland University of Technology in collaboration with the ARC Centre for Excellence in Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers, the QUT Institute for Future Environments, the CRC for Spatial Information and the Queensland Government’s Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy.

Images and other support for the project were provided by Reef Check Australia, the XL Catlin Global Reef Record, the University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute and Remote Sensing Research Centre and the Australia Institute of Marine Science.

Talent available for interview

Dr Erin Peterson, spatial scientist, Queensland University of Technology
Erin works at the intersection of ecology, geography and statistics. She is the Project Leader for Virtual Reef Diver and is passionate about engaging regular people to help better monitor and manage the Great Barrier Reef.

Dr Julie Vercelloni, marine scientist and statistician, University of Queensland
Julie grew up in the south of France between the Mediterranean Sea and Provençal forests, but now calls Queensland home. She is primarily interested in how statistical models and new technologies can help us better protect coral reefs from global climate change.

Dr Manuel Gonzalez-Rivero, coral ecologist, Australian Institute of Marine Science
Manuel’s research focuses on understanding what drives changes in coral reefs, and how we might use technology, such as automated image recognition and autonomous underwater vehicles, to better monitor coral reefs in the future.

Trevor Smith, experienced diver and instructor trainer, Dive2Go
Trevor’s been diving in Australia and on the Great Barrier Reef for over 25 years. He works closely with other members of the diving industry and tourism operators, runs PADI professional instructor development and recreational diver programs, including teaching divers how to take good underwater images.

Jennifer Loder, Director of Programs & Partnerships, Reef Check Australia
Jennifer is passionate about reefs and citizen science. She’s worked in environmental science, community engagement and science communication for more than a decade, helping to empower people to save our reefs and oceans through grassroots approaches to environmental challenges.

Kylie Andrews, producer, ABC Science
Kylie is an award-winning producer, editor and journalist with ABC Science. She’s created and produced the ABC’s online citizen science projects for National Science Week since 2009, and is passionate about creating engaging citizen science projects that also hit scientific goals.

Ruben Meerman, The Surfing Scientist (limited availability)
Ruben is a surfer with a physics degree and a passion for all things scientific. Growing up in Queensland after his family emigrated to Australia just before he turned nine, he fell in love with the Great Barrier Reef soon after he arrived.

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About National Science Week

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Australians will have opportunities to meet scientists, discuss the hot topics, do science and celebrate its cultural and economic contribution to society when National Science Week kicks off in August.

Running from 11 to 19 August, National Science Week 2018 is expected to reach more than a million Australians—with everything from science festivals, music and comedy shows, expert talks, art installations and performances, interactive hands-on displays, open days and online activities.

In 2018, National Science Week celebrates its 21st birthday, with events held throughout Australia—from Corals in the Outback in western Queensland to the Australian Antarctic Festival in the Apple Isle, to future science-based careers in rural WA to The Innovation Games at Sydney Olympic Park.

First held in 1997, National Science Week has become one of Australia’s largest festivals. Last year saw around 1.2 million people participate in more than 2,100 events and activities around the country.

The festival is proudly supported by the Australian Government; partners CSIRO, the Australian Science Teachers Association and the ABC; and sponsors Cosmos, Discovery Science, New Scientist and Popular Science.







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Kind regards,
________

Niall Byrne

Creative Director
Science in Public

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