Marine Matters – by Phil Coulthard
As featured in the South Western Times – 19/11/15
Become a Dolphin Researcher
Studying marine fauna in their natural environment has always been a challenge, particular for those animals that live in the open ocean and travel long distances. A perfect example would have to be dolphins and whales found along our south west coast. Scientists and researchers continue to spend millions of dollars and thousands of boat hours trying to collect basic information on their numbers, areas of preference and migration patterns however the task is huge and they need your help. Thanks to modern day technology, everyone can now contribute to this knowledge bank and collectively make a huge difference by downloading two fantastic new citizen science apps.
The first one is called Coastal Walkabout (www.coastalwalkabout.org) and allows the user to record sightings of a wide range of marine fauna through the state. Whether it is a dolphin, whale, dugong, shark, ray, turtle or seabird, this new tool allows you to capture photographic and video records of our wildlife encounters while simultaneously and automatically recording your observation location (GPS) and time. Your records will be automatically uploaded into a real time mapping system on their website. Via the website, the data is freely accessible to the general public, researchers, NGOs, industry and local organisations all over the world.
The second app is an extension of the Walkabout app and is dedicated entirely to the Bunbury dolphins. Owned by the Dolphin Discovery Centre, the app is also very easy to use and is designed to encourage people of all ages and abilities to record sightings of dolphins in all local coastal and inland waterways. Like the Walkabout app, it automatically takes note of the time and location (GPS) of dolphin sightings before uploading that data in real time to the Coastal Walkabout website. Researchers at the Dolphin Discovery Centre are very excited about the app and hope that more eyes on the water will help them better manage and protect the Bunbury dolphins in the future.
Both Apps were developed by Perth based Gaia Resources and both are available as FREE downloads on in the iTunes App Store or Google Play store. Simply google Coastal Walkabout and Bunbury Dolphin Watch App for more information. Better still, why not learn more about the apps at a public presentation at the Dolphin Discovery Centre on Saturday, the 28th November from 3pm. As part of the Dolphin City Festival Celebrations, researchers from the Dolphin Discovery Centre and Murdoch University will deliver an hour long presentation on both citizen science apps as well a general introduction on the bottlenose dolphins of Bunbury. The presentation will also review the current research effort conducted here at the Centre along with the most recent dolphin discoveries made by the South West Marine Research team. For more information either call (9791 3088) or e-mail (email@example.com) the Dolphin Discovery Centre.
What an incredible start to the dolphin season! With a relatively quiet winter period now well and truly behind us, the warmer water and perfect weather conditions have sparking a dolphin visits boom.
What an exciting day today for our lucky guests who joined the dolphin sightseeing tour. Not only did they enjoy a large family of dolphins playing in the Bay, but they also had the fortune to observe
If there is one thing winter brings to the south west that everyone loves it would have to be whales. Over the past few weeks a number of brief whale sightings have been reported however today has been