Visitors interested in helping to Save Nemo, have an opportunity to work with Biologists from Flinders University and the University of Queensland at Lizard Island Resort from August 18-21, as part of this year’s National Science Week. Saving Nemo Conservation project has developed a new website app called IC-ANEMONE which will provide an opportunity for guests to become citizen scientists in a bid to find clownfish and anemones and help monitor their numbers in the wild.
IC-ANEMONE is the first global database aimed to better understand where clownfish and anemones occur and what threatens their survival in the wild. Up-to-date visualisations of data, for example maps of where particular clownfish are most frequently reported, will be available for people to compare their sightings to others in their region and beyond.
Associate Professor in Biodiversity and Conservation, Karen Burke da Silva, will lead her team of marine biologists to launch and use the app to record clownfish and anemones at their research site at Lizard Island. The collection of data with the help of citizen scientists will help discover what factors are affecting and influencing populations in the wild. Impacts caused by climate change, land use practises and over-collection are all potential threats to marine species now and into the future. What is needed is long-term, wide scale clownfish monitoring data to highlight general patterns to help us become more informed. Information recorded by guests at Lizard Island resort will help build a clearer picture of the pattern and frequency of habitat disturbance and the resilience of clownfish and anemones in a highly protect site as part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park system.