Seashore Monitoring for Marine Pests – A Citizen Science Approach
08 March 2020
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.