Stephanie Clark, Citizen Science Officer
Citizen scientists from all over Sydney have been collecting data on the charismatic Eastern Water Dragon with ROARING success! Water Dragons are an impressive semi-aquatic lizard found near fresh water and patches of bushland along the eastern coast of Australia. Full of character, and found at sizes up to a metre long, they are a much loved native species and perfect candidate to study the effect of urbanisation on native species. The ‘Dragons of Sydney’ project aimed to inspire, educate and increase community involvement in the conservation of Eastern Water Dragons.
Have you seen a Water Dragon in your Backyard? National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) would like you to become a citizen scientist and take part in our Sydney-wide survey on how water dragons use backyards in Sydney.
On the morning of Tuesday 21st March, local residents of northern Sydney will head to the Field of Mars Reserve, East Ryde, to see if they can find local water dragons and help with water quality testing and bush regeneration.
The Dragons of Sydney project is an initiative run by the National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) in partnership with Macquarie University to conserve Sydney’s urban Water Dragons through revegetation and citizen science.
Contributed by: James Baxter-Gilbert (PhD Student from Macquarie University, NSW)
The Australian Water dragon (Intellagama lesueurii) is a large lizard species common along the eastern coast of Australian ranging from Queensland to Victoria. There are two subspecies described: the Eastern Water Dragon (Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii) living in the northern extent of the range, and the Gippsland Water Dragon (Intellagama lesueurii howittii) living in the south1. The males of this species are larger in size and will defend a territory, displaying a bright red chest coupled with head-bobbing and arm-waving to communicate to other males to stay away. Females will regularly mate with multiple males to ensure genetic diversity of her eggs; a single clutch of eggs may have 2-3 different fathers2 divided between 6-18 eggs.
Thursday’s heat did nothing to deter 20 enthusiastic young volunteers from taking part in the first of a series of community events at Bradleys Head Reserve aimed at helping the area’s Eastern Water Dragons.
The event was organised as part of Dragons of Sydney Harbour, a new initiative run by the National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) in partnership with Taronga Zoo, Conservation Volunteers Australia, Macquarie University and Greater Sydney Local Land Services. It seeks to conserve Sydney’s urban Water Dragons through revegetation and citizen science.