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Citizen Science

Citizen Science

From time to time the Tasmanian Field Naturalists Club is asked if members can send observations or carry out more active research into a topic about the natural world.

This page provides contact details and some descriptions for citizen science opportunities. They are listed in chronological order as they are received.

Bumble Bees - Bombus terrestris

Message from Researcher James Mackinson

I am a bee biologist from Western Sydney University. I am currently in Tasmania until the 9th of May studying the nesting requirements of the large earth bumblebee (Bombus terrestris). I'm looking for help finding nesting colonies. I would like to describe the nesting conditions of this non-native species in Tasmania, as well as look inside these colonies to determine their parasite load and reproductive output in Tasmanian ecosystems.

In addition, in October last year my colleagues and I used radio telemetry to follow young house hunting bumblebee queens to their new homes. We made a unique discovery, following one bumblebee back to a young colony she was building at the woolly base of fronds in a soft tree fern (Dicksonia antarctica). We want to see whether this is a common strategy for bumblebees in Tasmania, and are looking to find as many tree fern colonies as possible. If you have any such ferns on your property, please check them for signs of bumblebee activity. You may notice bees flying around the tree, or even here a low humming around the tree itself.

Please call or text me on 04 9112 4016 if you know the location of a bumblebee colony and are happy for me to come and study this colony.

Posted 29 April 2023


Where? Where? Wedgie 2023

Bookings are now open for the Where? Where? Wedgie! 2023 raptor surveys - this year you can take part on any or all of 12-14 & 26-28 May. Check the 'Take Part' page to remind yourself what's needed for the best science, then follow the link to the booking map. Book now to grab your dream spot, coordinate with everyone else and give yourself enough time to plan. Almost 500 squares are available.

 You can take part using datasheets on a Hobart roadside, or through the app while floating in Bathurst Harbour (don't worry, it works offline!).
To find out more about what's been achieved so far, see the News article: 

 Take part in Mammal trapping for research

Kawinwit (Ink) Kittipalawattanapol, PhD candidate, invites Field Nats to participate in mammal trapping sessions coming up in May.

 This incredible experience will give them the opportunity to see wildlife up close! 

 Just to give a very brief overview of the studies: We are trapping for mammals, targeting brushtail possums, southern brown bandicoots, and invasive black rats, to investigate the impact of apex predator (the Tasmanian devil) decline on their genetic changes. We know that devil declines impact cats and quolls, but not much is known about the subsequent prey species across Tasmania.

Dates currently looking for helpers:

- 8-24 May (Northeast)

- 13-24 May (Northeast)

For the trips in May, we will have two teams, a volunteer in each team that will head with either myself or Baily to our respective sites in the area simultaneously. Since we have 5 sites in the area (sites: Ringarooma, Welborough, Pioneer, Blue Tier, and Ansons Bay) where we are trapping for 5 nights at each site. One team will stay to do three sites (hence one trip for 8-24 May) and one team will do two sites (hence another trip goes for 13-24 May). There will be driving days for each trip so that we are not too exhausted from driving and setting/packing up traps from the sites. Like always, meals, accommodation and transport between Hobart and the accommodation in Branxholm and sites are provided!

Also, please spread the words if you know anyone who are available and interested in helping out – feel free to pass on our emails to them to contact us ( or

Warm regards,


Kawinwit (Ink) Kittipalawattanapol (they/them)

PhD candidate

BSc with Hons (Zoology)

Posted 9 April 2023


Pacific black duck and Mallard hybridisation

Members are invited to take part in a project that aims to monitor the distribution of hybridisation between native Pacific black ducks and introduced mallards.

There is concern that the genetic integrity of Pacific black ducks in Tasmania may be threatened by introgressive hybridisation. The combination of high levels of hybridistion in human landscapes and Pacific black duck (PBD) shooting in remoter areas has led to PBDs becoming critically endangered in NZ, and they are either threatened or extinct on several Australian Islands. 

People can help by recording sightings of mallards, Pacific black ducks and Pacific black duck x mallard hybrids to iNaturalist, eBird or birdata. On iNaturalist, sightings of mallards and hybrids are automatically added to this project: Mallards & hybrids in Australia · iNaturalist. All records are of use. It's good to know where healthy populations of pure PBDs exist in large numbers, and useful to know the range of mallard x PBD hybrids. It's also helpful to know where mallards are commonly fed and/or dumped, as these locations may be the subject of education campaigns and new signage in the future. 

Records on eBird and birdata are also very useful and can be added as incidental records (if sighted outside of a regular survey). Including photos where possible is very helpful. Many hybrids are misidentified as pure PBDs and photos can help confirm species.

Anybody looking for more information on the issue, hybrid identification tips or more ways to help is encouraged to join the facebook action group: Mallard and Hybrid Ducks in Australia | Facebook

Posted 28 January 2023


Environmental Volunteering and Stewardship Survey

Online study to identify what motivates volunteers to participate in environmental stewardship programs (i.e. Clubs like ours!)

TFN members are invited to participate in an online study to identify what motivates volunteers to participate in environmental stewardship programs, and what factors support the valuable contribution of people like you. The study is completely anonymous and takes approximately 10-12 minutes to complete. Everyone that completes the survey will be offered the chance to win one of two vouchers worth $300. The survey is being run by researchers from the University of Queensland with support from the NSW Environmental Trust. The complete the survey or to find out more information click here.

Dr Angela Dean, on the benefits of volunteering, and what types of experiences and feedback help strengthen the capacity and motivation of volunteers, enabling them to continue making such a valuable contribution. As part of that project, she is hoping to survey environmental stewardship volunteers to explore their perceptions of volunteering and stewardship. The project website can be accessed here.

Added 22 January 2023


 Coastal Weed Warning - Rice Grass

Spartina anglica
A new and potentially devastating weed has recently been detected in the Huon and D’Entrecasteaux Channel waterway.
Known as an “ecosystem transformer”, rice grass (Spartina anglica) forms dense and impenetrable mats that trap silt and destroy beaches and coastal habitats.
This summer, Huon Valley Council will work with Kingborough Council and Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service to search bays and coastlines to try and eradicate the rice grass threat.
With your help, we can prevent this devastating weed from establishing in our local waterway.

Read more here...

Added 22 January 2023


Great Southern Bioblitz 2023

The 2023 Great Southern Bioblitz will be held 24th to 27th November 2023. Last year, participants came from 26 countries, across 3 continents and speaking 3 different languages. Preliminary results from the 2022 survey are available from ( Registration for the 2023 survey can be made via their website or this link ( ).

Posted 28 Nov 2022

Community Rainbow Lorikeet trapping program

Rainbow Lorikeets are classed as an invasive species, they are not protected and landowners are able to safely and humanely destroy them.

The Environmental and Invasive Biosecurity  Branch of NRE have a community Rainbow Lorikeet trapping program running in the Kingston and Hobart areas, where they have a bird trap near a feeder and euthanise any Rainbow Lorikeets when they are caught.  It is hoped that the same program can be set up on the north of the state, when they can get more traps made.

They are asking if any of our members know of any locations where Rainbow Lorikeets frequently feed AND that the landowners are happy to work in a trapping program,  if so please contact

Toni Furlonge, Environmental and Invasive Biosecurity Program Co-ordinator (NRE) either by mobile: 0439 446 738 or email:

NatureMapr citizen science platform now Australia wide

Check out the NatureMapr citizen science platform. With the recent inclusion of Tasmania, the NT, SA and WA, it now provides the ability for anyone, via web or smartphone, to quickly upload their fauna and flora sightings from across Australia and shortly thereafter receive expert identification. This in turn provides important knowledge sharing of historic and current records and observations about the presence and distributions of native and introduced species to raise public awareness and to assist organisations that need to know about them.

 Posted 28 April, 2022

Evolutionary ecology of black rats, a super-invasive species

One of our members, Kawinwit Kittipalawattanapol, is currently undertaking PhD research into the impact of the introduction of black rats into Tasmania titled “Evolutionary ecology of black rats, a super-invasive species”. He is looking to collect additional black rat specimen from people’s culling efforts of black rats to supplement my landscape genetics study to understand their local adaptations and movements through time on mainland Tasmania.

If you are culling black rats in bushland habitats you are invited to save specimens for collection by Kawinwit (Ink) Kittipalawattanapol. 

The black rat is one of the world’s most destructive alien invasive species and is known to displace native small mammals in Tasmania. From camera images, 90% of all small mammal records are now comprised of black rats. Knowledge gaps are how the decline of the native apex predator, the Tasmanian devil, and the subsequent increase of feral cats, affects populations of black rats, and the impact that black rats have on native small mammals. The project will attempt to close these research gaps by addressing the following questions:

How does devil decline influence the ecological interactions amongst devils, feral cats, quolls, and black and native swamp rats?  What are the effects of environment and devil decline on gene flow in black rats?

The researcher will trap small mammals, particularly black rats, to collect genetic samples, with additional samples from the public to supplement the sample size, and use a landscape genetics approach to identify the factors that influence dispersal of black rats across the devil-decline gradient.

The project will increase the ecological knowledge of black rats in Tasmania, where they are understudied. Your contribution will greatly contribute to the conservation of native small mammals in Tasmania.

Contact Kawinwit for more information and if you have any questions.

Kawinwit (Ink) Kittipalawattanapol
School of Natural Sciences
University of Tasmania
Phone: +61 431 343 03

Posted 5 December 2021

Instructions for using iNaturalist

iNaturalist is used around the world to record observations of nature. It is widely used by citizen scientists.

Find out more here:

Here is a pdf of step by step instructions written by Clare Hawkins for using iNaturalist.

iNaturalist for the dubious

Added 24 September 2020

Nature Trackers website

Nature Trackers is the Bookend Trust's overall site of citizen science projects:

 Flame Robins Survey

Call for observations from Central North Field Naturalists.

To find out and to participate, visit:

BushBlitz Backyard Species Discovery

(Added 25 April 2020)

 Earthwatch Australia

(Added 25 April 2020)

 Save our Seabirds

Appeal from the Pennicott Foundation    l     Pennicot Foundation website

(Added 17 December 2018, updated 20 August 2019)

 Help to eliminate European Wasps from Mt Wellington Park

Recently while enjoying a walk on Mt Wellington, two of our members met one of the Park Rangers who was eradicating European Wasp nests. The Ranger requests that anyone who comes across a nest should contact him, and provide information on location of the next, by a GPS reading if available.

Wellington Park Ranger:

Ben Masterman


Phone: 6238 2976,  0408 517 534