Citizen Science program

Learn how you can get involved in citizen science projects. Volunteers and scientists collaborate to answer real-world questions. Together, you can learn more about protecting our planet.

Take the opportunity to increase scientific knowledge. Community members share and contribute to data monitoring and collection programs. By volunteering, you can gain hands on experience. You will make a meaningful impact on scientific research and environmental decision making. Anyone can contribute and there are many ways to get involved.

Our Citizen Science projects

Here are some of our projects to get involved with:

  • Our Beaches CoastSnap – join a global project and help us record and monitor changes to our coastline using an app.
  • NaturallyGC iNaturalist – contribute plant and animal sightings from across our Gold Coast parks and natural areas by joining our online iNaturalist project.
  • Report koala sightings – help us monitor our local koala populations by reporting koala sightings using an online form.

Events & activities

We partner with community organisations to deliver a range of events and activities where you can learn more and participate in structured citizen science activities with local experts. Check out our NaturallyGC Program for more information.

To find upcoming events and activities go to:

Citizen Science activities delivered on the Gold Coast include:

  • Cane Toad Challenge – help reduce cane toad numbers in our city with a revolutionary new method that uses the toad's own toxins against them.
  • Microplastics Down Under – help map the presence of microplastics along our beaches.
  • Platypus Watch – learn where platypus live and why they are disappearing. Help monitor platypus populations and identify what is needed to ensure the protection of one of Australia's most unique species.
  • Rocky Shore Explore – join local marine scientists to find and record sea slugs and other creatures that live in the Burleigh Heads rocky shores. Great for families and kids.
  • Seagrass Watch – help monitor this vital marine ecosystem. Seagrass is an important food source for many threatened species, such as dugongs and turtles.
  • Sea Slug Census – join marine scientists on shore dives (or occasional boat dives) or snorkelling activities to photograph and record nudibranch and sea slug species .
  • Waterbugs – discover hidden creatures while assessing waterway health. The waterways in our city are teeming with waterbugs. They are a vital food source for platypus, turtles and other aquatic animals. Waterbugs also offer valuable insight into waterway health.
  • Water quality – once a month there is the opportunity to use state-of-the-art monitoring probes to record water quality data from our local waterways. Water pH, oxygen levels, temperature and other parameters can have a huge impact on the health of our waterways and the creatures that depend on it.

Online & on the go

You don't have to join a group to participate. There are many projects you can participate in using apps and online platforms.

  • Dolphin Research Australia – coastal dolphins are some of the most vulnerable marine species in the world. Help monitor the status and health of dolphin communities in our estuaries and ocean by reporting sightings using an online form.
  • ClimateWatch – use the ClimateWatch app to observe our climate on your own or in groups. For educators, there are lesson plans and activities that align with the national science curriculum.
  • FrogID – by recording a frog call with the FrogID app, you can discover which frogs live around you and help count Australia's frogs. In June 2021 over 238,000 calls had been submitted by volunteers.
  • Lorikeet Paralysis Syndrome Project – help scientists find out if the foods that local lorikeets are eating are making them sick. Join the iNaturalist project.
  • Sea Slug Survey – contribute to marine research by photographing sea slugs and nudibranchs while you are diving, snorkelling or exploring our rocky shores. Submit your photos using Australian Living Atlas Biocollect website. Sea Slugs are one of the few marine animals that can be readily identified by photos and this means no collection of specimens is required.
  • Zooniverse – work online or use an app to join over 2.3 million registered volunteers around the world to contribute to projects led by hundreds of researchers.

Some online and on-the-go projects include specialist training:

  • Reef Check Australia – support the long-term monitoring of the our reefs by learning the knowledge and skills to collect globally-standardised reef health surveys.
  • Humpback and Hi-Rises – help the largest marine mammal monitoring program in south-east Queensland. This program is dedicated to the protection and research of marine mammals. Support whales and dolphins through research, rescue and education. In June 2021, 600 volunteers had been trained under this program.
  • TurtleWatch – help fill the data gap on nesting turtles in our city. Learn how to spot turtle tracks of a nesting turtle, how to identify the different species and how to enter your data into the TurtleWatch citizen science database.

Annual projects

Collecting data and undertaking research at the same time each year helps scientists monitor changes in our environment. You can participate in these projects every year.

  • Aussie Backyard Bird Count: 18–24 October 2021 – help researchers understand more about the birds that live where people live. Use an app to count the birds in your backyard.
  • Great Southern Bioblitz: 22-25 October 2021 – each spring, join citizens scientists from across the Southern Hemisphere to record local biodiversity. Join our iNaturalist project to take part.
  • FrogID week: 12-21 November 2021 – November is peak frog breeding season. Join Australia's biggest frog count and help the scientists at the Australian Museum monitor the health and distribution of native frog populations using the FrogID app.
  • Wild Pollinator Count: 11-18 April and 14-21 November 2021 – each Autumn and Spring contribute to wild pollinator insect conservation in Australia by watching any flowering plant for just 10 minutes during count week and submitting your observations online.
  • Gold Coast Bioblitz: 4-6 February 2022 – an opportunity for experienced and amateur nature lovers to spend a few hours with an expert, surveying flora and fauna. Last year there were more than 400 participants.

Apply for a science grant

We also provide support and a range of grants to partner organisations. This funding helps to deliver citizen science activities for the community. Find out how to apply:

If you are an organisation or community group looking to undertake scientific research on Council-controlled parkland, approval might be required. For further information visit Temporary access to parks for scientific research.