Developers of an app containing hundreds of images and information on the biological diversity of South-East Queensland believe it will be an invaluable resource for secondary students, university undergraduates and the broader community.
ARI marine biologist Dr Tim Stevens worked with Museum counterparts Mr Peter Davie and Dr John Hooper on the content of the app, which is designed as a digital companion to the Museum’s popular two-volume Wild Guide to Moreton Bay and Adjacent Coasts.
The app focuses on the invertebrate animals and marine plants that survive in the inter-tidal and shallow sub-tidal zones. With their bizarre body shapes and lifestyles, the invertebrates play a critical role in maintaining the wellbeing of marine ecosystems.
“South-East Queensland has so many different habitats within a small area. Mangroves and seagrass beds are home to so many species and then you have the beaches, the headlands, the rocky shores and more,” said Dr Stevens, who recently received the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Griffith University Teacher of the Year.
“Working with the Queensland Museum was a great privilege and we were able to create an app providing details on more than 500 species, including high quality photographs, tips on species identification and notes on biology, ecology and distribution.
“It’s great for students – mine are using it already – but really anyone with curiosity and a phone can take advantage of it.”
The app is already being used by the Moreton Bay Environmental Education Centre and Jacobs Well Environmental Education Centre. Dr Stevens sees further potential in areas such as fisheries management and national parks.
Queensland’s Minister for Science, The Honourable Ian Walker MP, said the State Government was keen to foster collaboration between agencies such as the Museum and research institutes such as the ARI to deliver real benefits for Queenslanders.
“I’d encourage anyone with a smart phone to download this app and use it to increase their knowledge or enhance their experience of our foreshores, wetlands and mudflats,” said Mr Walker.
“Any parent introducing their kids to the joys of exploring our local wetlands can use the app to help identify the many invertebrates and marine plants living in these habitats.”
Coastal Life of South East Queensland is free and available on all platforms from the App Store and Google Play.