Citizen scientists wanted to help solve echidna mysteries
NORTH East residents are being called on to help better understand and conserve our iconic native echidna, by collecting echidna scats (poo) and taking photographs wherever echidnas or scats are spotted.
University of Adelaide researchers are launching a new citizen science project to address important questions about echidna numbers and distribution and to obtain material for molecular analysis.
The Echidna Conservation Science Initiative or EchidnaCSI researchers have developed a dedicated mobile phone app for instant upload of photos and location, and input of details of the immediate environment and the state, size and activity of the echidna.
The researchers would also like people to use the app to log the scats, then bag and post them to the university research team for molecular analysis.
“Echidnas, and their fellow monotreme the platypus, are the oldest surviving mammals,” Professor Frank Grutzner, who has been leading research in monotremes for the past 15 years, said.
“But surprisingly we know very little about these iconic animals that feature on our coins.”
Data and material collected through the EchidnaCSI project will help develop molecular tools to better understand these animals and help echidna conservation.
The app can be found on the App Store and on Google Play.
More details and links to the app can be found at http://grutznerlab. weebly.com/echidna-csi.html.
YOU CAN HELP: Researchers are seeking help fron the public to better understand echidnas.