|The next phase of the Dolphin Watch partners program has been rolled out. In a previous post we discussed the launch of Dolphin Watch in the Mandurah Estuary and adjacent waters and the huge interest the community had in monitoring the local dolphin populations.
Now the Dolphin Watch app is being used to monitor the waters of Roebuck Bay in Broome, allowing Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions scientists and community rangers to survey the range of dolphin species in the tropical waters of the Bay.
The image to the right is a draft web map, soon to become available, showing the location of observations submitted using the app with colour-coded symbols for each of the dolphin species. The legend allows the map view to be customised to display specific dolphins and map layers.
As observations are successfully submitted to the underlying data repository the data immediately becomes available to be displayed on the map.
Dolphin observations in Roebuck Bay, Broome
|Dolphin Watch, having originated with the River Gardians from the Swan-Canning River Park in Perth, made observations and surveys of the only species present in the region: Tursiops aduncus – the Indo-pacific bottlenose dolphin; likewise for the Mandurah region.
However, in warmer waters towards the equator, many more species of dolphin can be seen. So, in the last major release of the Dolphin Watch app five dolphin species were added (as seen in the app’s ‘Species Selector’ to the right).
Now Dolphin Watch can be used in coastal waters along the whole WA coastline to observe the commonly-seen dolphins.
As you can see from the image, you can still report an observation even if you unsure of the species identification, however, a good image is necessary to also submit in order for the record to be maximally useful to the scientists.
As previously, anyone can download the app and submit dolphin observations along with an image with which the identity can be verified by experts.
However, to ‘unlock’ the survey component of the app, training must be undertaken and this is delivered by DBCA staff at one of the regular training sessions.
Keep a look out for announcements on the River Guardians website
You can download the Dolphin Watch app, for Android and iOS smartphones.
If you’d like to know more about how we can help you with developing a citizen science program, or how a smartphone app could improve your community engagement and scientific data capture, then please leave a comment below – or email me directly via firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ‘Species Selector’ in the App