Integrating knowledge in the marine space: the role of citizen science in science communications

Melissa Nursey-Bray (1), Rob Palmer (2), Gretta Pecl (3), Jemina Stuart-Smith (4)

1 Geography, Environment and Population, University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia, 5005.

2 Media, University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia, 5005.

3 IMAS and Centre for Marine Socio-ecology, Hobart, Tasmania, 7001,

3 IMAS and Centre for Marine Socio-ecology, Hobart, Tasmania, 7001,

Marine communities are vulnerable to the impacts of wicked problems like climate change, and species shift and re-distribution is a key indicator of ecosystem response. Scientific knowledge alone cannot navigate all of these challenges and transdisciplinary approaches are needed to build bridges between and within knowledge systems. Citizen science programs can communicate science but also become a catalyst for participatory co-creation of knowledge in ways that: (i) enable local data to be collected that would not otherwise occur and (ii) provides space for the development of communities of practice around science. In creating a forum for joint expression of multiple voices (both scientific and non scientific), citizen science programs can begin to integrate the authenticity of multiple voices with cultural perspectives and scientific theory to in turn inform and perhaps encourage more participatory and community based orientation. REDMAP, a virtual marine and online citizen science program, builds mechanisms for the co-creation of knowledge about species shift and impact of climate change on marine ecosystems. Its virtual nature means it merges two forms of citizen science; the ongoing longitudinal mapping that occurs in many face to face citizen science programs and the ‘event’ based surveys carried out by others. REDMAP also facilitates a space for science communication that transcends geographical boundaries. This paper, using REDMAP as a starting point, explores the ways in which citizen science may, as a form of science communication, become an amalgam of community and scientific knowledge and build the transdisciplinary enterprise that is uniquely suited to the resolution of wicked problems today.


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