Working with the community to collect data on raptors

A unique citizen science project utilising the data infrastructure of multiple NCRIS facilities, including TERN and the Atlas of Living Australia, is collecting and collating information on three iconic Australian raptor species to ensure their longevity. So, grab your camera and contribute to managing, understanding and protecting these spectacular birds of prey.

Effective biodiversity research and management relies on comprehensive information about the species or ecosystems of interest. By bringing together data from multiple sources and making it freely available and usable, NCRIS partners the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), the Biodiversity and Climate Change Virtual Laboratory (BCCVL) and TERN are helping researchers access data to discover answers to their questions.

Just one recent example of how NCRIS is supporting research and innovation through data access is the Coastal Raptor Nests citizen science project by Queensland’s Redland City Council and BirdLife Australia.

Citizen scientists are submitting their images of three iconic raptor species into the ALA via the BioCollect tool so scientits can study nest locations and behaviours (images courtesy of Frank Burch, Dominic Al-Mudaris, Tony Powell and Leigh Abbott)

Raptors are vulnerable to threats such as climate change, pollution and urban development, and this sensitivity to environmental conditions makes them important ‘indicator species’ for environmental change. The project utilises community members to help observe and identify nests of three iconic raptor species, chosen because little is known about their nest locations and behaviours. 

Tools provided by the ALA were used to collect and make the observations accessible. Climate and bio-climate data from TERN was then used to create species distribution models for each raptor species through the BCCVL. The resulting models looked at both current and future climates.

The ability to collect and analyse data using several of the connected NCRIS facilities has allowed Redland City Council to create an informed raptor management plan to help ensure longevity of the species in Redland City.

Published in TERN newsletter November 2017

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