SeaKeys: Unlocking Foundational Marine Biodiversity Knowledge
The SeaKeys Project is a large collaboration that aims to collate and increase marine biodiversity information and translate this information into products to support decision making and the development of new benefits for South African society. The project team includes more than 17 different organisations with researchers, post-graduate students, citizen scientists, marine managers and decision makers working together. The project will deliver species inventories, new species records, Encyclopaedia of Life pages, DNA barcodes, new species descriptions and ensure that all this information flows up the biodiversity knowledge chain to make a difference! Our marine atlasing component aims to gather species distribution data to support research, monitoring, ecosystem description and the assessment of species threat status (redlisting). The project will explore links with the bio-economy and includes a new scuba diving training initiative, “Dive South Africa” that aims to promote South Africa’s marine biodiversity and inspire the recreational diving community to participate in our project. The National Fish Atlas component links with the WWF Nedbank Greentrust funded FishforLife project and we hope fishers and divers will contribute to the knowledge base that supports management of marine biodiversity at the genetic, species and ecosystem level. The project is funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa through the Foundational Biodiversity Information Programme which aims to support integrated projects that not only generate and disseminate foundational biodiversity information, but ensure that data is used to improve decision-making, service delivery and create new economic opportunities.