Wednesday 10 March 2021 – 6.00pm
Doors open at 5.30pm
As space is limited and there are no reservations, first come, first seated
Admission by gold coin donation
Dr Laura Jordan-Smith, Marine Biologist, co-founder of World Below the Waves
National Aquarium, Marine Parade, Napier
Using a simple mobile phone app New Zealanders now have the opportunity to join a global science initiative to help track the health of the world’s oceans and marine life. The first project to use the eOceans platform, entitled Our Ocean in Covid-19, will collate observation data submitted by community members to determine what impacts changes in human behaviour due to the Covid-19 pandemic have had on the ocean and coastal communities. Citizen scientists are being encouraged to record observations of human and animal activities whenever they are in, on or close to the ocean. Lead researchers will then collate and analyse data collected from around the world to identify local and global trends related to changes in ocean activity throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and into a new normal. The project may also establish a proof-of-concept as to how real-time, collaborative ocean monitoring can be used to break down barriers between academia, government, and at-sea stakeholders to support more inclusive progress toward managing ocean resources, economies and conservation in the future. In New Zealand, eOceans is represented and championed by Dr Laura Jordan-Smith. Laura will describe the eOceans platform and mobile app, give us a demonstration, and discuss the power of citizen-sourced data for global ecological research.
Dr Laura Jordan-Smith completed her PhD at UCLA in 2008 studying stingray sensory biology. She has since conducted projects on topics ranging from penguin flipper morphology to shark bycatch reduction. Her research has taken her to various countries including the US, Australia, Fiji and Honduras, and her work has been published in several top journals and presented at conferences in the US and abroad. She has taught hands-on marine science courses at the University of San Diego, UCLA, at various marine labs around the US, including Shoals Marine Laboratory, and internationally in Fiji and Honduras. Laura’s keen interest in science communication and education lead her to establishing World Below the Waves, a collective of US-based marine biologists who develop workshops, lectures, tours and other events to educate and enthuse the public about the diverse and beautiful life that exists in the sea. Laura moved to Auckland in mid-2019 and, with common interests in improving public science engagement, World Below the Waves and eOceans have recently teamed up to bring this exciting citizen science initiative to New Zealand.