Faculty Associate, Zoology, Fisheries Centre, College for Interdisciplinary Studies
Amanda leads a marine conservation team (Project Seahorse, Fisheries Centre, CFIS) that has extensive engagement in Asia. Their work is across biology, anthropology, resource management, community engagement, trade analysis and policy generation.
They have established a Foundation in the Philippines – where they are very active – and have staff in Hong Kong SAR. There is a project in Vietnam that has been established for five years. They have also conducted some form of biological or trade research in most Southeast and East Asian nations. They plan a push into mainland China over the next few years, both for collaboration with traditional Chinese medicine communities and for establishment of marine protected areas. All the projects (bar the most superficial ephemeral surveys) are done with and in support of in-country collaborators. Further information can be found at http://www.projectseahorse.org
Crowdsourcing Seahorses: New smartphone app offers hope for seahorse science and conservation
Posted October 11, 2013
Marine conservationists from the University of British Columbia, Zoological Society of London (ZSL), and John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago today launched a smartphone app that could lead to new discoveries about some of the ocean’s most mysterious and threatened animals — seahorses — and pave the way for similar efforts with other difficult-to-study species.
With iSeahorse Explore, anyone, anywhere in the world can become a citizen scientist and contribute to marine conservation with a few taps of their phone. The iPhone app is designed for people to quickly log seahorse sightings whenever they encounter an animal in the wild.
“We’ve made important scientific breakthroughs with seahorses in recent years, but they remain incredibly enigmatic animals,” says Amanda Vincent, director of Project Seahorse, UBC and ZSL’s joint marine conservation initiative.
Thanks to their small size and ability to blend into their surroundings, seahorses are difficult to study in the wild. Of the 48 seahorse species listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 26 are considered ‘Data Deficient’—meaning that there isn’t enough information for us to know whether these species are thriving, disappearing, or something in between.
“We know that seahorses are threatened by overfishing, destructive fishing practices, and habitat loss. Now we need to pinpoint populations and places that most need conservation action,” says Heather Koldewey, co-founder of Project Seahorse and Head of Global Conservation Programmes at ZSL.The app and its feature-rich companion website, www.iseahorse.org, represent a pilot collaboration with iNaturalist.org, a leading citizen science group.
New features planned for the next phase of the iSeahorse website and smartphone app include sophisticated population monitoring and advocacy tools as well as a social media component.
“Working together with citizen scientists all over the world, we’ll accomplish big things for seahorses and other vulnerable marine species,” adds Vincent.
The iSeahorse iPhone app is available for download here. To learn more about iSeahorse and explore seahorse maps, species profiles, and other data, visit www.iseahorse.org. A picture of the new app can be downloaded from here.
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