In July 2016, Pokémon Go swept the internet and became an overnight sensation. While playing, the game uses a player’s smart phone to locate, capture, battle, and train virtual creatures. Amazingly, these characters appear on the screen as if they were in the same real-world location as the player. The popularity has sparked many imitators, and fan-bases such as Harry Potter, Transformers and Star Wars have been clamouring for their own versions. But what if we tell you that there is a similar app that could be used to record wildlife sightings on the Great Barrier Reef? That the information put into the app will help the Marine Park Authority manage the long-term health of the reef? : What if we tell you it’s free?
In 2014, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority updated it’s “Eye on the Reef” program, and one of the updates was to the Sightings Network program. Sightings Network has been re-vamped into the “The Eye on the Reef” app. You can use the app to capture, submit and share your sightings, photographs and short video with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Furthermore, you can use the app as an educational tool to learn more about your favourite Great Barrier Reef creatures. Additionally, you can use the app to document the amazing creatures you see in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Besides recording wildlife on your phone, the information also goes to a database you can access online.
A sighting can be anything a Reef user feels important enough to report. Sightings can include incidents like a bleaching event, Crown-of-thorns starfish, stranded or sick wildlife and coral damage. Additionally, other sightings are often special moments like seeing protected species, charismatic wildlife and awe inspiring events like mass spawning. You can use the app within the Marine Park, the Coral Sea, Gulf of Carpentaria and southern Queensland region. Considering that more people are using smartphones and more reef operators are offering free WiFi, expect to see this app take off!
Want to learn more? Want to download the App? Well, don’t wait–click the icons to find out more!