Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter

News tags

mental health  physical activity  earthquake  vacancies  families  public health  children  funding  poverty  health determinants  social  Community development  planning  employment  healthy cities  volunteers  newsletter  youth  volunteering  nutrition  employment opportunity  housing  alcohol and drugs  maori  community engagement  rebuilding  wellbeing  disabilities  Lectures  counselling  Training  earthquake recovery  sustainability  event  community gardens  Community  seminar  Awards  stress  Community Groups  mens health  research  arts  smokefree  culture  men  exercise  migrants  community event  education  environment  resilience  human rights  health  medical  business  sport  conferences  survey  mental wellbeing  Courses  obesity  elderly  support group  environmental health  healthy food  health promotion  violence  pacific health  resources  music  rebuild  women  race relations  meeting  gardens  workshop  services  leadership  forum  water  disabled  repair  transport  prevention  pacific  dance  fundraising  asian health  sexual health  inequality  markets  cancer  support  disasters  development  mindfulness  dementia  presentation  collaboration  health in all policies  Hui  data analysis  recovery  smoking  law  drugs and alcohol  technology  safety  cycling  Sleep  policy  justice  parenting  media  hearing  walking  land  neighbours  social justice  qualification  resilient cities  information  community connection  consultation  oral health  bullying  depression  youth empowerment  young people  activities  non-profit  charity  harm  NURSES  addiction  disease  Communication  alcohol  symposium  District Plan  advanced care plans  submission  anxiety  accessibility  Relationships  eating  economics  Design  Build  Advocacy  eLearning  falls  parking  energy  heating  insulation  advice  build environment  Expo  Parents  conference  Eating Disorders  abuse  waste  commuting  nominations  Matariki  webinar  weight  diabetes  workplace  Film  Climate Change  solutions  urban  management  Fundraiser  economy  plan  restoration  Report  Vulnerability  welfare  parks  learning  awareness  emergencies  legislation  injury prevention  reading  Meeting Room  conservation  concert  language  refugees  recreation  built environment  data  gardening  venue  drugs  urban design  Food  Legal Help  older people  finances  stop bullying  youth workers  suicide  heritage  gender  recycling  breastfeeding  conflict  anti-bullying  strengths-based  open day  public  health research  identity  Self Esteem  Psychodrama  networking  vision  Nursing  submissions  biodiversity  Due to a significant MSD Contract increase our Team is seeking four fulltime Family Support Workers (these are fixed term positions through to 30 June 2020).  Our Team is seeking two fulltime Children’s Team Lead Professionals based in Christchurch (these are fixed term positions through to 30 June 2020).  Due to a rural expansion of our MSD Contract our Team is seeking one fulltime Family Support Worker (this is a fixed term position through to 30 June 2020).  campaign  Trustee  promotion  partnership  Gut Health  diversity  therapy  older adults  sexuality  computing  pollution  social work  providers  gambling  residential care  Maori health  screening  trauma  kaumatua  autism  Governance  treaty of waitangi  care  anger  mentoring  pets  relaxation  Professional Development  evaluation  pornography  exhibition  history  Testing  retirement  discrimination 

NZ scientist seeks volunteers to count Antarctic seals

Thursday, February 28, 2019   Posted in: Resources and Information By: Administrator With tags: research, environment, volunteers

University of Canterbury media release: 28th February 2019

A University of Canterbury-led study of the crabeater seal population in Antarctica aims to understand potential environmental and social impacts on one of the southern-most mammals in the world, and democratise science.

University of Canterbury (UC) researcher and lecturer Dr Michelle LaRue is using high-resolution satellite imagery and volunteers from around the world to analyse crabeater seal populations across the Weddell Sea – one of Earth’s last wildernesses.

This research could support the establishment of a large no-take marine protected area (MPA) in the Weddell Sea, that would protect critical foraging and breeding grounds and help this vital ecosystem build resilience to the effects of climate change.

“The exciting aspect for me is that people can be directly involved with my research,” says Dr LaRue. “Anyone in the world with an internet connection can do research alongside me by reviewing the satellite images and simply telling me what they see.”

Dr LaRue's project has funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Protecting Antarctica’s Southern Ocean Campaign, and Dr LaRue hopes the results will help shine a light on how crabeater seal populations may fare in the face of environmental changes. These results will help relevant policymakers, industry experts, and non-governmental organisations use scientific findings to protect the biodiversity of this unique habitat.

This specific initiative is focused on crabeater seals, but Dr LaRue also studies populations of other Southern Ocean predators, including Weddell seals, Adélie and emperor penguins, on a continental scale using high-resolution satellite imagery provided by DigitalGlobe, Inc.

“These species are facing substantial conservation challenges in our changing physical and social environments. Analysing population dynamics can help us understand how these animals are dealing with these environmental changes, and how the overall populations are being effected,” explains Dr LaRue.

This is not the first time Dr LaRue has called upon citizen scientists. The UC scientist has previously worked with Tomnod - a digital platform that recruits online volunteers - to identify important objects and explore interesting places around the world using satellite imagery.

From tracking damage caused by Hurricane Maria in Dominica and Puerto Rico, to scouring land consumed by wildfires, Dr LaRue is using people’s fascination with science and nature to solve global problems.

“What I love about this research is there are several impacts: democratising science, engaging people with the scientific method, and empowering people to make a difference in the world.”

Dr LaRue wants to involve the public to make science more accessible and approachable to those outside of academia.

Approximately 330,000 online volunteers assisted her in 2016 with counting Weddell seals in Antarctica. Dr LaRue is expecting similar engagement with this project.

The benefits of this study will reach far beyond the public. Delegations from 24 countries and the European Union will meet for the annual meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) in October, to discuss conservation of the Southern Ocean. Dr LaRue’s research will be taken into consideration as delegations decide whether to designate the Weddell Sea as a MPA, which would protect critical habitat for crabeater seals, and other species who thrive in the region.

A Weddell Sea MPA designation would contribute to a commitment CCAMLR made to create a full network of large-scale MPAs through the Southern Ocean, and serve as a major contribution towards the international conservation goal of safeguarding at least 30 percent of the world’s oceans by 2030.

How you can help find crabeater seals

Dr LaRue is recruiting online volunteers to spot crabeater seals around Antarctica. In true democratic fashion, anyone interested is welcome to contribute. The only requirements are that you have a computer, internet access, and review the brief instructional guide provided on the website.

Find out how to join Dr LaRue's team of citizen scientists.

Healthy Christchurch Champions

  • Canterbury District Health Board
  • Christchurch City Council
  • Environment Canterbury
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ngai Tahu
  • NZ Police
  • Pegasus Health
  • University of Otago, Christchurch