Image Credit: Aqua Invaders

Project: http://www.brc.ac.uk/aquainvaders/home

You can now contribute to science no matter who you are or where you are thanks to this amazing new citizen science project by Aqua Invaders.

Aqua Invaders is a unique partnership between prominent Environmental Science agencies, who have come together to collect much needed data on new aquatic species emerging across waterbodies in the UK.

The initiative’s main aim is to identify and locate invasive, non-native freshwater aquatic animal species that might have brought significant problems with them for our indigenous wildlife. Regular surveillance of each and every waterbody in UK is physically impossible and this is where Aqua Invaders requires the help of citizen scientists like you. You can now report occurrences of such unusual sightings in waterbodies around you, using Aqua Invader’s new mobile application.

The “Aqua Invaders” app is free for download and is available for both iOS and Android mobile platforms. The application will help you identify the specie of your sighting and will enable you to submit geo-located pictures. So, as soon as you see something fishy (pun intended) around you, just grab your phone, snap away and submit your sighting in a jiffy. The app itself features 26 species which includes 12 fish, 7 crustaceans (including the dreaded “Killer Shrimp”), a handful of exotic amphibians and also Zebra Mussel, Red-eared Terrapin and American Mink. Each species has its own information page and photo galleries to help you correctly identify your sighting.

The application is intuitive and is very easy to use. You can create a “New Sighting” straight away from the homepage which will trigger open your camera. Once you have snapped away the incidence, you will be taken to the “New Sighting” page, where you are required to enter necessary details. You can also open up the ID guide from the “New Sighting” page as well – to roughly identify your sighting. Once all the details are complete, just hit the submit button and you are good to go. You can also add previously captured pictures from your gallery when creating a new report. The data collected from this app will be submitted to Biological Records Centre (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology), where experts will verify your sighting and relevant authorities will then be alerted straight away to resolve the situation. Upon verification, your report will be made available to the NBN Gateway.

Obtaining accurate data about distribution of invasive species is highly important when it comes to formulating a response. Data provision prior to this has always been unreliable, patchy and often unverified due to lack of accurate geographical coordinates, but these shortcomings have been addressed by this application, which by the power of you all citizen scientists will help the initiative to identify such occurrences like never before.

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