The State of the Marine and Coastal Environment 2021 Report explores many types of citizen science activities. These projects are helping us better understand and care for marine and coastal environments. 

What exactly is citizen science though? 

Citizen science involves community participation and collaboration in scientific research. It often includes people who do not have formal science training. Citizen scientists take part in activities which help increase scientific knowledge. 

These activities can occur in the natural environment or from the comfort of one’s home. Citizen scientists have been involved in virtual activities even during the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, Phillip Island Nature Park’s Seal Spotter program invited anyone with a computer to count seals in images captured by drones. 


Redmap (the Range Extension Database and Mapping Project) is one of the projects highlighted in the State of the Marine and Coastal Environment 2021 Report. The citizen science project started in Tasmania at the end of 2009 and expanded nationwide at the end of 2012. 

The project invites the community to spot, log and map sightings of marine species that are unusual for a given location - species spotted outside of their expected distributions. These sightings occur as people undertake marine activities such as fishing, diving, or boating.

“Our waters are changing, and we need to know how. Redmap is an online site and smartphone app where you can report unusual marine animals and plants that you see while you’re out fishing, boating, swimming or diving”.

It’s difficult to implement monitoring along the entire coastline of Australia. Redmap engages with groups that regularly enjoy and observe marine and coastal areas to help the scientific community understand how our marine ecosystems are changing. Redmap collates, documents and acknowledges observations from members of the community. Thousands of photos have been submitted by citizen scientists and every one of those has been verified by scientists around Australia. 

You can help track unusual species and changes in your local seas at, or with the Redmap iOS/Android smartphone app. Read more about marine and coastal citizen science activities in the State of the Marine and Coastal Environment 2021 Report