Monitoring Insect Pollinators

Posted by emmelinenorris

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Urbanisation can have significant impacts on native insect pollinators. As Canberra grows and native vegetation is cleared for development, pollinator populations may decline due to habitat fragmentation, diminishing resources, and pesticide exposure. This can reduce pollination services and genetic diversity in plant and pollinator populations. Citizen science helps gather data to understand urbanisation’s impact on insect pollinators, enabling scientists to implement conservation measures for these important species.

Canberra Urban Biodiversity Surveys

The Canberra Urban Biodiversity Surveys (CUBS) program is a new initiative led by ecologists in the ACT Office of Nature Conservation in collaboration with NatureMapr. The objective of CUBS is to find urban green spaces used as habitat by native wildlife and identify the habitat features that support these species’ persistence. This information helps prioritise restoration efforts to enhance ecological connectivity and maximise biodiversity benefits in Canberra’s urban landscape.

Citizen science provides an effective way to collect data that contributes to our understanding of how urbanisation impacts insect pollinator populations, so we can implement measures that support the conservation of these important species.

How to conduct insect pollinator surveys

Surveys will be conducted between mid-October 2023 and late-March 2024. Volunteers will be expected to survey their designated site/s monthly between these dates and upload sightings through the survey form on this page.

To conduct insect pollinator surveys, volunteers will spend approximately 30-45 minutes photographing pollinators on flowers within 50 metres of a central survey point. using timed plot-based surveys in urban green spaces. The photos are then uploaded to Canberra Nature Map using the survey form for identification by expert moderators.

For a CUBS insect pollinator survey, you’ll need:

  • Camera (e.g., digital camera, mobile phone camera)
  • Stopwatch/timer (e.g., phone, watch, handheld stopwatch)
  • Field data sheet
  • Approx. 30-45 minutes

How to get involved

You can help in one of the following ways:

  • By signing up to monitor one (or multiple) sites. Preference for those with some experience photographing small invertebrates. 
  • By becoming a moderator or assisting with moderation in one/multiple taxa.

Mandatory training will be required to participate in surveys, once you have completed the training and are familiar with the survey methods, you are ready to start searching for insect pollinators. Please note: Group training has concluded for 2023. If you are interested in participating, please register (details below) and we will be in touch regarding training options and remember not to commence surveying until after you have attended training:

How to volunteer/register

To register as a volunteer, click the "Contact" button. This will prompt you to send a message to the survey organisers.

Please include the following information in your message:

  • How you are able to assist with this project
  • Which general area of Canberra you are in
  • If you have experience with photography or moderation (and in which area)
  • How many sites you are willing to survey
  • If you have any extended planned absences between mid-October 2023-late-March 2024.


Let’s get started and help protect our valuable pollinator species!


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Monitoring Insect Pollinators

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