Citizen science is helping to monitor species distributions

Mr Mark McGrouther1

1Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia

Citizen scientists are making a significant contribution to our documentation of species range shifts. The iNaturalist website, run by the California Academy of Sciences, contains more than 14 million observations of ‘life’ that have been uploaded by over 400,000 people.  Australasian Fishes is an iNaturalist project that started in October 2016 and accepts observations of fishes from Australia and New Zealand. Over 40,000 observations have been uploaded. This growing dataset has documented over 80 occurrences of fishes found outside their recognised distributions.  These are mostly tropical and sub-tropical species found south of their previously agreed limits of distribution. The large dataset associated with the Australasian Fishes project is easy to download for use by the general public, students, researchers and decision makers. The project is at


Before retiring in 2018, I worked as the Ichthyology Collection Manager at the Australian Museum for 37 years. I am now an Australian Museum Senior Fellow.  In October 2016, I started the Australasian Fishes project in iNaturalist that allows users to upload observations of fishes from Australia and New Zealand.  The project has been a resounding success with over 40,000 observations uploaded and more than 80 occurrences of fishes found outside their recognised ranges. Having an extensive network of professional fish taxonomists as colleagues helps enormously.

Species on the Move

An International Conference Series

The conference brings together scientists and natural resource managers working in the disciplines of global change, biogeography and evolution, and relevant in contexts of natural resource management, biodiversity management and conservation, and theoretical ecology.

Species responses to climate change is a rapidly evolving research field, however, much of our progress is being made in independent research areas: e.g. understanding the process vs responding to the implications, terrestrial vs marine ecosystems, global meta-analyses vs in depth species-specific approaches. This interdisciplinary conference develops connections between these parallel streams, and across temporal and spatial scales.

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