Late October is an important time for scientific research on our side of the world – it’s when community members across the southern hemisphere can take part in citizen science projects as part of the Great Southern BioBlitz.

Citizen science is when people like you and your friends collect data, make discoveries, and explore nature in collaboration with researchers.

It’s a great way to get out in nature and learn about the world around us.

The Great Southern Bioblitz runs from 28 to 31 October, with a number of South Australian – and international – events in store to get community members involved in collecting valuable data that will help researchers learn about the biodiversity in a region.

Here’s everything you need to know – about the South Australian-based bioblitz events, and citizen science more broadly.

Students birdwatching in Adelaide Botanic Gardens - photo by Sam Ryan

Why is citizen science important?

It is widely recognised as an important way to actively involve the public in scientific endeavours, and develop new knowledge and discoveries.
There are many ways citizen science has helped lead to life-changing breakthroughs.

One example was in 2011, when researchers from the University of Washington made a protein-modelling problem publicly available as a game.

After the scientists had been struggling with the problem for more than a decade, gamers solved it in 3 weeks.

Not just researchers. Not just lab technicians. Gamers, contributing to an open-source program for fun.

Closer to home, Green Adelaide can use community sightings recorded on social media to help monitor a wide range of animals, from highly threatened species such as the black-chinned honey eater, to tracking down emerging invasive species such as the Alexandrine Parakeet.

You never know the impact of sharing your observations, photos and findings, until you start.

'Science, of course, is a profession. But science is also a hobby.'

- Caren Cooper (TedX)

How can citizen science help the environment?

Citizen science has already helped identify new species of Australian animals never seen before, like Maratus harrisi (a type of peacock spider) and Aenigmatinea glatzella (enigma moth).

Citizen scientists like you can help researchers better understand South Australian biodiversity and ecosystems, by staying curious about the natural world, recording what you find, and sharing your observations.

You are invited to do just that from 28 October to 31 October, as part of the Great Southern BioBlitz.

How does it work?

The Great Southern BioBlitz takes place in the southern hemisphere in late October, when the natural world is on full throttle. Flowers are in bloom, birds are singing, and insects and reptiles are emerging.

It's a project run by a grassroots network of keen citizen scientists from across the globe.

The blitz highlights the immense biodiversity across the southern part of the globe, while engaging the public in science and nature learning.

Participating on your own

To participate individually, all you need to do is download the iNaturalist app or make an account on your computer and make observations of plants and animals between 28 October and 31 October 2022. This could be of insects, lizards and birds that you find in your backyard, or you could go for a walk through your favourite national park to see what you find.

Organised group events

Joining in with an organised group is a great way to participate in the BioBlitz. In and around Adelaide, you might like to take part in:

Moth Night at the Bee Hub (at Brown Hill Creek)
Wildflower Wander, Friends of Waite Conservation Reserve (at Leawood Gardens)
Spring Walk, Friends of Black Hill and Morialta (Athelstone)
The first South Australian Butterfly Count

…plus many more. Check this website to find events near you and to sign up.

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