GRASS ROOT FINDS: Rob Whyte looking for new discoveries.
GRASS ROOT FINDS: Rob Whyte looking for new discoveries. Contributed

Science novices find new species

AS NOOSA observed Citizen Science Day last Saturday, a green group is calling on more people to get behind the Cooloola BioBlitz that will be see hordes of keen amatuer environmentalists scouring the bush and dunes for new species.

Cooloola BioBlitz is will spread out from its Rainbow Beach base camp across the May 17-19 weekend. Expert scientists and naturalists will lead groups of budding citizen scientists into the field to locate and identify all living things in a range of habitats.

BioBlitz cordinator Lindy Orwin said this is a "48-hour period of biological surveying in an attempt to expand the records of all the plant and animal species within the Cooloola Coast”.

Last year the BioBlitz discovered 37 new species of spider including a new trap door, a tiny the baalzebub spider, crab spiders and jumping spiders. The species include new money spiders, crab spiders, cobweb spiders, jumping spiders and the very tiny baalzebub spider.

Queensland Museum's Robert Whyte told media last year another amazing find was the Thomisidae cetratus, a bright green crab spider, which he called "Mr Stripey”.

"Their legs allow them to move sideways like a crab. They actually look a little bit like a crab,” he said.

No experience or special skills required to participate and ages range from teens to retirees scouring beaches, bush, lakes, estuaries, the sand blow, perched lakes and fens. The blitz is organised and supported by the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation, Cooloola Coastcare and Gympie Council. Contact: Coordinator@Cooloola Coastcare.org.au.

Science Minister Leeanne Enoch said citizen science is "a fun way to learn more about our world while helping to contribute to important research”.

The Government recently launched a Queensland Citizen Science Strategy to boost community participation in research projects as diverse as reporting on the ground effects of weather events, searching for galaxies far away or monitoring the health of our waterways.

"Our strategy is all about mobilising Queenslanders to help our scientists with important research projects, because the more eyes and ears you've got out there, the better,” Ms Enoch said.


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