The 2023 Citizen Science Award winner and runner up have been announced, celebrating the citizen science projects that are helping to increase our knowledge of South Australian biodiversity. Let’s meet them.
Meet the winner
Insect life is vital for functioning ecosystems but did you know that it’s thought that only around a third of inspect species have been formally documented?
Winner of this year’s Citizen Science Award, the Insect Investigators projectset out to document and name some of the estimated 150,000 undescribed insect species.
The project involved a massive collaboration between museums, universities and educational institutions and schools in South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland.
The 17 regional schools in South Australia and 33 based in Western Australia and Queensland were able to collect thousands of samples.
Over 12,000 samples were selected and sent to the Centre of Biodiversity Genomics in Canada to make use of its internationally leading DNA barcoding laboratory, sequencing a small section of DNA to allow for species level diversity to be identified.
Once barcoded, the insect samples were sent back to Australia to be stored at museums in South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland so they will be available for future research and taxonomists working to identify new species.
So far, 15 new species have been identified through Insect Investigators, with the partner schools working to help name the newly identified species.
Meet the runner up
Empowering citizen scientists to discover more about South Australia’s fungi species was the aim of Citizen Science Award runner up project, Find Our Fungi!
The partnership between Fungimap, Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Board, Prospect Hill Bushland Group, and the University of Adelaide has harnessed citizen science to improve knowledge of South Australia’s fungi to support conservation of native species.
The project researched 20 regionally distinct fungi with a focus on South Australia’s Murraylands and Riverland region, with citizen scientists documenting and taking pictures of the fungi.
Scientists and mycologists (someone who studies fungi) worked together to upload records to citizen science platform iNaturalist and the Atlas of Living Australia.
Congratulations to both projects for their amazing contribution towards South Australian citizen science!
The awards were presented on Friday, 11 August by DEW in collaboration with Inspiring SA and the SA Chapter of the Australian Citizen Science Association , and part-funded by the government’s Citizen Science Fund.