About The Waterbug Blitz Team
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About The Waterbug Blitz Team

Waterwatch has been operating in Australia for over 20 years, getting thousands of schools, community members and organisations involved in water quality testing and water bug surveys. 

Meanwhile John Gooderham of The Waterbug Company has been developing an improved approach to how scientists and citizen scientists (like Waterwatchers) can use a similar methodology to identify waterbugs and collect data that is of good quality and robust for use in riverine assessments.

Currently there is no nationally coordinated collection and collation of waterbug data in Australia. 

So, as a group, with Federation University Australia on board, along with Waterwatch Victoria, The Code Sharman, EnviroComm Connections Pty Ltd and NSW Waterwatch, we saw an opportunity for an amazing nation-wide citizen science project.

Federation University Australia submitted a citizen science grant application on behalf of the project team to the Australian Government's Inspiring Australia program. The application put forward an idea to run a coordinated national waterbug bioblitz-style event, linked with training and an app for identification and data entry, along with social research on why people get involved. The aim of the project was to reinvigorate the Australian community’s awareness, concern for, and care of, their local waterways. 

Grant funding to deliver the National Waterbug Blitz project was confirmed in July 2017.

The project entails:

  • Upgrading the existing Waterbug App for waterbugs for Australia and data entry via app
  • Creating an online waterbug database, which receives data from citizen scientist via The Waterbug App, and can also house historical and other agency collected data on waterbugs.
  • National Waterbug Blitz events in October 2018 and October 2019.
  • Social research on waterway health citizen science projects participation 
  • Project reporting and evaluation by June 2020.

Meet The Team

 

waterbugblits team member

John Gooderham

The Waterbug Trust

Waterbug ID Trainer / Tame Freshwater ecologist

Why did you get involved in NWBB?

I value our rivers and wetlands and think that using waterbugs to assess them will give us a feel for how they are doing and point out the ones that need a bit more attention. Also, I’m extremely fond of waterbugs.

Whats your spirit waterbug?

Glossosomatid caddis (Igloo Caddis) because they have had the foresight to build an escape door into their cases..... and flatworms because somebody needs to like them.

waterbugblits team member

Birgita Hansen

Project Leader

Centre for eResearch & Digital Innovation (CeRDI), Federation University Australia

Why did you get involved in NWBB?

The Inspiring Australia grants gave us a great opportunity to establish a new citizen science program, linked to existing programs like Waterwatch, that aims to capture information about waterway health whilst simultaneously supporting people’s interest in waterbugs.

Whats your spirit waterbug?

Notonectid / backswimmers

waterbugblits team member

Ingrid Garland

Event Coordination & Communications

EnviroComm Connections Pty Ltd & NSW Waterwatch representative

Why did you get involved in NWBB?

I have been involved in Waterwatch for 15+ years and see this project as a huge opportunity to get more citizen scientists involved in getting out to their local waterway and to understand more about our precious freshwater ecosystems and their condition! I'm so grateful to work with an awesome team of passionate people on this project too!

Whats your spirit waterbug?

Whirligig Beetle

waterbugblits team member

Deidre

Project advisor

Corangamite Catchment Management Authority

Why did you get involved in NWBB?

The Waterwatch network conducts waterbug surveys to evaluate waterway condition. Development of National Waterbug Blitzes will make surveys accessible to even more community members and help raise awareness of waterway condition. I think there are a lot of people who will be filled with wonder as they get involved in this wonderful activity

Whats your spirit waterbug?

Damselfly nymph

waterbugblits team member

Michael Sharman

The Code Sharman

Mobile App developer

Why did you get involved in NWBB?

I'm fascinated by how technology can be used to help foster community engagement and collaboration; such as the free software movement and citizens science. Both which harness intrinsic motivation to benefit society: whether it be the freedom to build our own software, the pursuit of a more harmonious relationship with our environment, or increasing the accessibility of science to the public. So when John approached me with a proposal for the first version of the Waterbug App and early visions of a citizens science project that became the National Waterbug Blitz I was keen to be on board.

Whats your spirit waterbug?

Helichopsychidae caddis (the ones with the coiled cases meticulously built from sand grains).  It's maths meets bugs.

waterbugblits team member

Pat Bonney

Social & Ecological Research

Centre for eResearch & Digital Innovation (CeRDI),  Federation University Australia

Why did you get involved in NWBB?

I am interested in the connections between community and the way we manage our rivers, lakes and wetlands. The National Waterbug Blitz provides a great opportunity to not only understand the value of citizen science for waterway research, but also on the potential of citizen science to foster closer connections between people and their environment.

Whats your spirit waterbug?

Blackfly larvae (Simuliidae) – On the weekend, you’ll find me clinging to rocks.

waterbugblits team member

Paul Feely

Application planning/development

Centre for eResearch & Digital Innovation (CeRDI),  Federation University Australia

Why did you get involved in NWBB?

As the lead developer on the recently well received Waterwatch and EstuaryWatch re-developments, I have gained a new understanding of the importance of citizen science and environmental monitoring.As a result I’m keen to see how the see the realisation of the Waterbug blitz project and how the data will be integrated with other systems.

Whats your spirit waterbug?

Diaprepocoris barycephala (Barry four-eyes)

waterbugblitz team member

Scott Limmer

Systems Analyst Programmer

Centre for eResearch & Digital Innovation (CeRDI),  Federation University Australia

Why did you get involved in NWBB?

The NWBB presented an interesting challenge in how to use technology to engage citizens in water health monitoring through waterbug occurrence.

Whats your spirit waterbug?

Laccotrephes  (Leafy water scorpion)

waterbugblits team member

Rose Herben

Victorian Facilitator of EstuaryWatch and Waterwatch

Corangamite Catchment Management Authority

Why did you get involved in NWBB?

Waterbug sampling is a great way to get to know your local waterway and enjoy the company of others who enjoy being in the outdoors. It is exciting to think that groups and individuals across Australia will be sampling for waterbugs as part of the National Waterbug Blitz.

Whats your spirit waterbug?

Freshwater Shrimp

waterbugblits team member

Cecil Ellis

Equipment & Training

Nature Navigation | The Waterbug Shop

Why did you get involved in NWBB?

I’ve been passionate about the watery world since I was an ankle biter. Working for the Streamwatch program I’ve seen how waterbugs excite people!! I enjoy seeing others realise the joy of waterbugs whilst sitting on the bank of their creek.

Whats your spirit waterbug?

Mirawara (Killer Mayfly)

 

glosso killer mayfly shrimp damsels backswimmer

 

Acknowledgements

The National Waterbug Blitz received Citizen Science Grant funding from the Australian Government