Help bring the platypus back from the brink of extinction

By AG STAFF September 2, 2021
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One of the largest citizen scientist projects in the world, The Great Australian Platypus Search, has launched.

One of Australia’s most iconic creatures is now at risk of extinction. Suffering under the impacts of habitat loss, drought, climate change and last summer’s bushfires, there is now mounting evidence showing rapid platypus population decline. So much so that earlier this year, this unique species was listed as threatened in Victoria for the first time.

By volunteering as a citizen scientist in The Great Australian Platypus Search, you will help map platypus populations across Victoria and fill a critical gap in our knowledge of this notoriously elusive species.

Collecting important environmental DNA (eDNA) data is the first step

Samples will be gathered by citizen scientists during the 2021 platypus breeding season (August-October), to be analysed in the lab by EnviroDNA.

With this data, scientists will be able to map platypus populations across Victoria, highlighting platypus refuge areas that can be immediately supported. This project will use innovative eDNA technology, which can detect the DNA of animals over large spatial areas.

How does it work?

Using sampling kits, water samples from more than 1500 sites across Victoria are being collected.

Data of this quality and consistency has never been gathered on this scale before in Australia, and potentially the world, making this one of the most significant citizen-science and biodiversity research projects in history.

What’s involved when collecting water samples?

How do you get involved?

Go to the Great Australian Platypus Search website to select your sampling sites and check out the great resources and videos.

Join the Great Australian Platypus Search Facebook group to stay up to date on project news and developments.

The Great Australian Platypus Search app (available for iOS and Android) will be used for in-field data collection.

Once you have selected your sampling sites, download the app.