Help needed for Whale Shark Research Project

Whale Shark

Have you got some free time and feel like doing some good with it?  How about volunteering for science researchers who desperately need help to collate all their data.  With Atlas of Living Australia you can join a virtual expedition and transcribe data in the name of conservation, biodiversity and community science.

I heard about ALA today in an article in The West Australian: Call for public to help whale shark research.  The text that follows is taken from this article (because let’s be honest, it’s well written, and if The West can’t persuade you to have a look, whatever I say probably wouldn’t either).


Citizen scientists are being asked to help gather valuable information on whale sharks off the WA coast, with the Australian Museum recruiting volunteers to transcribe pilot log books from whale shark spotter planes used by tourism operators.

In collaboration with the ECOCEAN conservation group, the museum wants help to record the logbooks so scientists, conservation agencies and government departments can have an accurate record of sightings.

ECOCEAN director Brad Norman said the data was collected daily at Ningaloo Reef during the whale shark season.

“It’s where that animal’s been seen, what time of the day it’s there, whether there are other whales sharks in close proximity,” he said.

“It helps us to understand whether there are hot spots along the Ningaloo Reef.”

Mr Norman said the data would be added to information from tour boats and an existing photo ID project that used tourists’ photographs of whale sharks.

But he said the Australian Museum program meant people did not have to go to Ningaloo Reef to help out.

“They can be sitting in a lounge room in Canberra or in the Northern Territory or in Tasmania and really help us to start to put together this data and make sense of what’s happening with the whale sharks,” Mr Norman said.

Australian Museum team leader of the volunteer portal Paul Flemons said volunteers would help provide critical information on the vulnerable species.

He said more than 200 volunteers had already signed up but more were needed.

To take part in the project visit

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