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Watching for invasive species: public engagement

Invasive species continue to be one of the greatest threats to the Rotorua lakes and include not only water weeds and wallabies, but other organisms too. Invasive molluscs such as zebra and quagga mussels have the potential to cause wide spread devastation to our freshwater ecosystems and are just one example of other invasive aquatic species not yet found in our New Zealand lakes. The management of invasive species is a shared problem that requires the cooperation and support of a diverse range of stakeholders, interest groups and members of the general public. The early detection of an invasive species is critical and may make the difference in being able to appropriately manage, control or eradiate a species before it has a chance to spread. Anyone can help prevent the incursion and spread of invasive species into our lakes. In New Zealand, we can learn from the success of programmes in other countries where they are recruiting citizen scientists to look for anything new or unusual. Citizen science, broadly defined as the involvement of volunteers in research, provides a means of combining research activities with environmental education and public engagement in science. Volunteers are able to increase their knowledge and understanding of the environment, learn more about local issues of importance, and contribute to science based recommendations. In addition, observations collected by citizen scientists can provide valuable records and knowledge that otherwise wouldn’t have been available.
Conference Contribution
Type of thesis
Proceedings of LakesWater Quality Society 2015
LakesWater Quality Society
© 2015 LakesWater Quality Society.