Update on EchidnaCSI

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Thanks to everyone who has submitted a sighting over the past two months! We are over the moon about the wonderful response to the EchidnaCSI app launch - around 1300 people have registered! So far, we have had over 600 submissions, including over 40 scats. We have now had submissions from every state and territory in the country. 
It is dedication and community effort like this that makes Citizen Science projects successful. Every sighting provides valuable information that can help us understand and provide help to echidna populations across Australia.

Below is important news for you.

BioCollect Update: New Survey

Many of you have contacted us with amazing stories of echidnas you've seen - but unfortunately you hadn't been able to take a photo. There is now a way to submit these sightings - as well as sightings of diggings and burrows! Head to our BioCollect page, and enter this kind of information in our new "Other Evidence of Echidnas" survey. You will need to make a profile with BioCollect first before submitting, but that is all pretty easy. Click here to head to our BioCollect page to get started.

Highschool Excursion

We were thrilled to learn that two students from Grant High School in Mount Gambier made themselves a mini project out of EchidnaCSI. For their Environmental Studies class they organised to visit their local Valley Lake Conservation Park in the search for echidna scats and possible sightings. They even had luck in finding two scats, which we have now received! A fantastic initiative by these students and we do hope to bring EchidnaCSI to more schools next year.

Love citizen science? A citizen science conference is being held in Adelaide, 7th-9th February 2018. This conference is not just aimed at the scientists and government representatives who create these projects, but also those who participate and make these projects possible. Hear about the outcomes of citizen science from all across Australia, participate in workshops and meet others who are as passionate as you are. Registrations have just opened, early bird registration closes 4th of December. There are also travel scholarships available of up to $500 for students, Indigenous participants and community members without institutional funding. Be quick, applications are due today, Monday 13th November.
Click here to find out more about the conference, register or apply for a scholarship.

Do echidnas get colds?

Caught on film... an echidna blowing a snot bubble begs the question
"do echidnas get colds?"
Actually, snot bubbles are very common for echidnas and like dogs, a healthy echidna is one with a wet nose. Echidnas consistently produce mucus that covers their long snout and there are a couple of theories as to why. One is simply that it helps the echidna when foraging for food as the insects get stuck to the mucus on it's nose. A more controversial theory is that it helps with electroreception in order to find food. It is well known that the platypus beak has electrorecptors that help detect prey in the water through electric currents. Echidna beaks also have similar structures and it is thought that keeping the beak moist with mucus allows them to sense electric currents in the environment, in particular to find food. Another example of the ever abundant echidna enigmas.

To see the video captured by one of our citizen scientists click here to our Facebook page.

Photo of the month

A great up close shot by Cecilia Webster! Looks like this little guy was on the hunt for some food in the delicious looking log. You can really see the large, strong front claws here that often help them to crack open the wood if they need to get in deeper. Thank you for your submission Cecilia!

A citizen's view

Would you like to hear from one of our citizen scientists? Journalist Elspeth Kernebone wrote a great article about EchidnaCSI for the Yass Tribune last month. Professor Frank Grutzner - the head of our lab at the University of Adelaide - talks about the importance of the project and having the public involved. Elspeth also speaks to Nada Travica, who is not only one of our very active and enthusiastic participants but an avid nature lover in general. A big thank you to Nada and every one of you helping us. You can find the article here.

Until next time!
All the best, from EchidnaCSI

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