Deakin University

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Sea search : a community-based citizen science monitoring program for Victoria, Australia, Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries

conference contribution
posted on 2008-01-01, 00:00 authored by A Boxshall, Rebecca Koss, Geoffrey WescottGeoffrey Wescott, Kelly MillerKelly Miller
Community involvement in monitoring Victoria’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) engages coastal volunteers in looking after their marine ‘front yards”. The Management Strategy for Victoria’s System of Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries dedicates an entire theme to community engagement with core key performance areas. This includes community participation. The Sea Search community based monitoring program was developed in 2003 to engage volunteers in meaningful ecological data collection for future sustainability of Victoria’s MPAs. Deakin University, an academic institute, and Parks Victoria, the management agency for Victoria’s MPAs, through a research partner program, trialled three different habitat monitoring methodologies. The trails assessed volunteer ability to collect scientific data, and social science aspects for their involvement in a community-based monitoring program. Information collected by volunteers, feeds directly into their local MPA management strategies to address issues such as climate change, introduced pests and human impacts and natural ecological variation.

The Sea Search program addresses the two action programmes, Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, created at the United Nations Earth Summit, held in 1992. Both documents highlight the need for community engagement and capacity building for sustainability, health and integrity of the earth. Involvement in the Sea Search program builds the volunteer’s capacity by learning scientific skills, interacting with other like minded community members, and creating relationships with all organisations involved in the delivery of the program. In this regard, Sea Search is a citizen science program involving all sectors in society by promoting public-interest and research for decision making and planning of Victoria’s system of Marine National Parks and Marine Sanctuaries.



Community Development and Ecology Conference (2008 : Melbourne, Vic.)


1 - 18


Deakin University, Centre for Citizenship, Development and Human Rights


Melbourne, Vic.

Place of publication

Geelong, Vic.

Start date


End date






Publication classification

E1 Full written paper - refereed


M Clarke, P Connors, J Dillon, M Kelly, S Kenny

Title of proceedings

Community Development and Ecology : engaging ecological sustainability through community development

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