Seashore Monitoring for Marine Pests – A Citizen Science Approach


Marine Metre Squared (Mm2)

Marine Metre Squared (Mm2) is a nationwide citizen science project that encourages the public to gather information about biodiversity, distribution and abundance of intertidal species and in doing so, ask further questions about the state of the coastal environment.

Using Mm2, the New Zealand Marine Studies Centre (NZMSC) has focused participants attention on the issue of marine pests in the coastal space. Through educational programmes, teacher/community workshops, resource development and distributing information, the project has connected with a wide audience both online (commencing during the COVID-19 lockdown) and in-person.

During this new initiative in 2020, the Mm2 audience has grown steadily, widening the potential reach to both educate the public on marine pests and involve them in active monitoring. Patterns observed via social media have provided valuable insight into where the public’s interest lies and what they may know/not know.

Trialling education programmes and resources in Dunedin and Auckland has provided the basis for a school/community monitoring programme that could be rolled out nation-wide. Education and awareness are essential for the development of kaitiakitanga/guardianship of our environment.

Mm2 provides a platform to encourage and engage the public in biosecurity, supporting the movement to strengthen efforts to protect New Zealand’s coastline. More information about how you can monitor marine pests using Mm2 can be found on their website. You can also keep up to date with Mm2 and their marine pest profiles on Facebook.



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Students, adults (one teacher and one parent) completing a Mm2 survey alongside a scientist in North Otago as part of the marine monitoring workshops in February 2020.  
Sally Carson (director of the NZMSC, Mm2 project co-ordinator) and Aless Smith (NZMSC educator, Mm2 project co-ordinator) before meeting schools to take part in a Mm2 survey at Pounawea Estuary, the Catlins in Februaury 2020.
Mm2 isn’t just for kids! Sureyors completing an Mm2 survey at Tomahawk beach, Dunedin as part of Seaweek 2020, March 2020.