The Nature Conservancy Australia (TNC) is calling on citizen scientists across Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales to use KelpTracker platform to support giant kelp forest research and recovery efforts.
Giant kelp forests have declined by over 95% in Tasmania since the 1970s, driven by climate change and a strengthening East Australian Current that is driving warm, nutrient-poor water further south. Giant kelp losses impact biodiversity, reef productivity and industries such as tourism and fisheries.
TNC is launching the web-based KelpTracker 2.0 platform, an improved version of the original Kelp Tracker app, which will help scientists map historical and present-day kelp forests along the coasts of Tasmania and mainland Australia.
TNC Kelp Restoration Coordinator, Paul Tompkins, said that the data collected by Kelp Tracker 2.0 will inform kelp restoration and research projects across southern Australia.
“By recording observations of giant kelp on the KelpTracker platform, the public can provide invaluable information about where giant kelp still exists which helps us design and locate restoration projects with real impact,” Mr Tompkins said.
KelpTracker 2.0 is a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, the Victorian National Parks Association, the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at the University of Tasmania and OzFish Unlimited.
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