Visualising virtual microbes
Citizen scientists will be asked to take a journey with drifting microscopic plankton to build a global picture of how the organisms are affected by changes in ocean conditions in a project led by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).
The study, one of 13 funded as part of the federal government’s $1.1 billion national innovation and science agenda, will use intuitive and playful visualisation tools to harness “people power” to bring new perspectives to ocean data.
Oceanographer Martina Doblin, visual communicators and design academics Kate Sweetapple and Jacquie Lorber-Kasunic and University of Otago science communicator Nancy Longnecker will use the $260,000 grant to build a web portal where participants can contribute to a global analysis of environmental exposure experienced by drifting plankton.
Through visualising and exploring the structural development of virtual microbes, known as marmics, the citizen scientists will be able to see how the organisms might respond to changes in the ocean.
“These microscopic organisms play an enormous role in fuelling fisheries and, through the production of oxygen, keeping us alive. Yet we don’t know how these important functions will be maintained as the ocean changes,” says Associate Professor Doblin, team leader of the UTS Climate Change Cluster (C3) productive coasts research program.
Read the full story in the UTS Newsroom.