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(Dr. La Salle) I’m John La Salle,
and I’m the Director of the Atlas of Living Australia.
Well what we’re doing this weekend is having a bioblitz,
and what a bioblitz is, it’s an opportunity for a range of people,
for scientists and normal citizens, volunteers,
bushwalkers, amateur naturalists,
everyone to get involved in recording
what lives in a certain place at a certain time,
so we’re getting a snapshot
of what’s living on Black Mountain in A.C.T.
(Anna See) So every time we get a new species
we record it through the bioblitz portal,
which goes onto the Atlas of Living Australia.
(Participant) And where you see the scribbles,
the caterpillar's long gone.
(Dr. La Salle) I think citizen science
is a very important component to this,
because (a) we want to engage people
throughout Australia in thinking more about science,
building more of a culture of science in Australia,
but also because I think there’s a lot of important knowledge
that’s out there at the hands of people that aren’t,
you know, quote, unquote, “trained scientists”.
So I think it’s important for us to capture that knowledge,
and they can help us build up,
numbers of people can help us build up the data
that’s going to inform us on a lot of important decisions.
(Stuart Harris) I was taking photographs in 2008,
about 60 kilometres south of here at
Booroomba Rocks in Namadgi National Park,
I had a macro lens which takes photographs of small
animals and plants,
and took a photo of a beautiful little red and blue spider,
tiny, only about four millimetres long.
Two years later I collected that particular specimen,
which was new to science,
the scientist collaborator wrote a paper,
described it, and gave it my name as its name.
So it’s now known as Harris’s Peacock Spider.
(Dr. La Salle) All the data that’s being collected
is actually going to end up being
stored in the Atlas of Living Australia,
and that this means we’ll have a persistent dataset
that we can come back, we can look at in two years,
ten years, 20 years,
and still have an idea of what was happening here at this time.
How this benefits us, it gives us a bit of a baseline,
so if someone comes back in ten years
and does the same thing we can see if there are any changes,
we can see if there are things
that are occurring here now
that aren’t here in ten years,
or things that are occurring here in ten years that aren’t here now.
It will help us get an understanding of how things are changing.
We find the Atlas is being used for a great variety of uses right now.
It’s really quite exciting to us.
People are taking the data and using it over and over and over again,
and they’re using it for research,
they’re using it for environmental management,
for conservation, for biosecurity,
for education and outreach.
And one of the things we’ve always
said about the atlas is we knew it will really
be hitting its stride when someone we’ve never heard of
comes in and starts using it for something we never thought of.
And this has actually happened a couple of times now –
we’re really excited about this –
that people are coming in and coming up with new uses for the atlas.