[ASC-list] Waterbug app launch in Melbourne this Friday

Chris Lassig chris at astrocave.com
Wed Mar 18 23:01:12 UTC 2015

Hi ASCers,

You're all invited to the launch of a mobile app to identify freshwater
macro-invertebrates, aka waterbugs. It's a great little tool for citizen
science projects or for assessing water quality.

The launch is at 5 pm, Friday 20 March at the Butterfly Club, Carson Pl
(off Little Collins St), Melbourne.

The media release is below, and you can see the app itself at



*App captures angry bugs in waterways*

Southeast Australia’s streams, dams and wetlands are the settings for an
exciting wildlife drama that’s also an indicator of environmental health,
and all you need to get in on the action is a net, a bucket, a magnifying
glass and a new mobile app.

The Waterbug App helps you identify creatures such as mussels, worms and
crustaceans, as well as insects like water scorpions, backswimmers, and
vicious diving beetle larvae, also known as water tigers.

“Water tigers are a thousand times smaller than their land-dwelling
namesakes, but they get to keep the name due to their unhinged ferocity.
Tadpoles have nightmares about them,” says app creator John Gooderham,
freshwater ecologist and co-author of* The Waterbug Book*.

The app’s identification method was originally designed for Waterwatch
monitoring projects, but it’s now open for citizen scientists to use.

One innovation is a tool called ‘Speedbug’, which presents you with simple
pictures representing classes of waterbugs, as well as key features to
quickly narrow down your search.

Once identified, the types of bugs found give an indication of the health
of the waterway, with diversity affected by pollution and invasive species
like the New Zealand mud snail *Potamopyrgus antipodarum*, known as the
“possum payback”.

And because waterbugs are an important link in the food chain, any harm to
them flows on to other species, like the fish that prey on them.

“The next step is to turn it into all-in-one tool for assessing river
pollution,” says John.

“You identify your bugs, hit the go button and it will tell you whether or
not you should have put your hands in the water when you were looking for
bugs… Or maybe you should go and wash them now.”

The Waterbug App is free to download from www.thewaterbugapp.com, the
iTunes App Store and Google Play for Android.

The app will be launched at 5 pm on Friday 20 March 2015 at the Butterfly
Club, in Carson Place off Little Collins St, Melbourne.

John will be available for interviews in Melbourne from Thursday 19 to
Saturday 21 March 2015.

John Gooderham
flatworm at ozemail.com.au
0447 893 519.
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