Digital tool powers up popular citizen science project

With rapid change being observed in marine ecosystems around Aotearoa New Zealand, connecting communities and young people with their local coastline can empower them to act as ocean champions for their seashore and the life in it.  

Marking out a square metre of seashore, be it rocky, muddy or sandy, is a proven survey method that comes to life in New Zealand as Marine metre2. In addition to helping us better understand and care for our coastal environment, it has been widely used by school children, to support their education curriculum, since its inception around ten years ago.

Now, in a first-of-its kind digital integration, Marine metre2 users can easily create interactive 3D models of their survey sites, helping school children and communities to investigate and record their local seashore and track how it’s changing over time. These 3D models are created using photogrammetry – a cutting edge tool normally used by scientists to efficiently survey our underwater realm in detail.

The digital upgrade came about through a partnership involving Marine metre2 founder Sally Carson (Director of the NZ Marine Studies Centre, University of Otago), and ‘Seascape’ creators James Frankham (Publisher of NZ Geographic) and Dr Arie Spyksma (Marine Science Research Fellow, University of Auckland).

The data collected through Marine metre2 is now more accessible than ever, thanks to a collaboration with the widely used Australasian biodiversity database, BioCollect. It means Marine metre2 surveys can contribute to scientific research both across New Zealand and globally.

By being freely available for budding and experienced scientists, and organisations to monitor marine ecosystem change, communities across Aotearoa can support the ambition is for New Zealand to have the most understood seashore of any nation.

“Marine metre2 is a much-loved citizen science project and it just got digital superpowers. Live Ocean’s mission is to scale up science, innovation and outreach for a healthy ocean. This project has all those qualities – science to understand, world-class innovation and outreach that is available for anyone to use.” SALLY PATERSON | CHIEF EXECUTIVE LIVE OCEAN FOUNDATION



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