Echidna CSI: a citizen science platform for outreach, engagement, communication and education

Echidna research

Join the Echidna Conservation Science Initiative (EchidnaCSI) and complete an honours project in science communication or education.

The EchidnaCSI combines research and public engagement to address three separate aims:

  • Establish the first Australia wide detailed echidna distribution map.
  • Utilise the collection and molecular analysis of echidna scat samples from captive and wild populations to provide novel insight into fundamental aspects of echidna biology (e.g. diet, stress, breeding).
  • Undertake outreach, education and engagement via traditional methods and social media.

In Australia we are privileged to be home to the extraordinary egg-laying mammals, the platypus and echidna. Both monotremes are vulnerable to threats through habitat destruction/fragmentation as well as from invasive pests. EchidnaCSI was launched in September 2017. A dedicated phone app allows the public to record observations of echidnas whenever they see them out in the wild. The project also encourages the identification and submission of echidna scats for molecular analysis. 

Since the launch, over 7,000 users have downloaded the app and over 6,000 sightings have been recorded, which is an astounding number since echidnas are not usually easy to spot. Our innovative approach to use community engagement to obtain echidna scat samples has been very successful, with approximately 350 samples received.

Echidna CSI Facebook page

Echidna CSI on Totally Wild

Honours projects

Echidna expert Professor Frank Grützner

Supervisors

Professor Frank Grützner

Co-supervisors: Dr Michelle Coulson

Research area: Science communication | Science education | Monotreme genomics, evolution and conservation

Recommended honours enrolment: Honours in Science Communication or Honours in Science Education

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