QuestaGame, in partnership with Australia's botanic gardens, have a new citizen science challenge.
This National Science Week, thousands of Australians will be opening their mobile phones, getting outdoors and competing to find enchanting creatures.
But they won’t be searching for Pokémon. They’ll be searching for, and photographing, real life forms - birds, reptiles, insects, and all the other living organisms that make up Australia’s rich and unique biodiversity.
Joining the Great Australian Biodiversity Challenge participants will use the popular QuestaGame app to submit photos of what they find. They will also represent their favourite botanical garden as they compete for a piece of the $4000 in prize money.
“It’s like Pokemon GO,” says QuestaGame player Rachel Lethem. “It encourages players to spend more time outside looking for unusual species.”
But unlike Pokemon GO, QuestaGame is all about reality - with real life forms and real life adventure. The app provides a fun and easy way to learn more about the life we encounter in our day to day lives.
The rarer the sighting, the more points players receive (though threatened species will not receive points, for their own protection). Challengers score extra points if they identify what they find themselves, but thousands of experts will be online ready to help.
Prizes are also on offer for the best ‘bio-experts’ who can help identify the photos of animals, fungi and plants that will be coming in during the week (via the Bio-Expertise Engine).
There is a serious side to the challenge though - helping look after life on earth. Data about species locations from the challenge will be shared with CSIRO’s biodiversity research database, the Atlas of Living Australia.
Challengers will be able to submit sightings from anywhere in Australia, be it a backyard, local park, or your local botanic garden.