This week Budawang Coast Atlas of Life (BCAL) reached the 100,000 milestone. This remarkable effort is the sum of many, with 4000+ contributors including observers and identifiers, and ranging from everyday people interested in nature to amateur naturalists and professional scientists.
Some do a little – others do a lot. But it all adds up to knowing more about our unique biodiversity in a time of of rapid and impactful environmental change. And its starting to make a difference.
Recent research has shown that citizen science is proving invaluable for monitoring rare species. The data are now being used in unexpected ways – discovering new species from frog calls, identifying habitat and diet preferences of endangered parrots, studying post-fire bush recovery, and simply filling gaps in the photographic record.
It is fitting that the 100,000th observation was a delicately-patterned moth uploaded by Dion Maple. Dion heads the BCAL leaderboard with 12.5k observations of 2.2k species on the Budawang Coast. He also pulls his weight helping others, with nearly 5k identifications. Dion helped out with BCAL’S’s Science Week training and walk in Nowra last August.
The 100,000th observation turned out to be Aglaopus pyrrhata, a moth found mostly in eastern Australia. Its larvae feed on eucalypt leaves, and live in a conical shelter created by rolling the cut edge of a leaf. Even Dion didnt know what it was, proving there is always more to learn!
Recent highlights from BCAL:
- 8 insects which have never been photographed in the wild before
- Rare Lizard Orchid – never seen before on the South Coast
- Gang-gang Cockatoos – where are they and what are they eating
- Impact of insect attacks on local burrawang plants
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