Rules for The Great Australian Biodiversity Challenge

This competition is governed by QuestaGame's Terms of Service. We've done our best to make them easy to understand, so we recommend you give them a read. All competitors should also ensure they have read and understood the Safety Check.

Competition Period - Start and End Time

The competition runs throughout National Science Week, commencing at 12:00am, Saturday, 12 August (AEST), and ending at 12:00pm, Sunday, 20th August (AEST). Sightings must be submitted within this period to be eligible. Identifications can be made during this period through until the time when all eligible sightings have been verified.

Winners will be announced on when all eligible sightings have been processed. Winners will be notified by email as well.

Sightings - Eligibility and Scoring

For this competition, sightings must be taken and submitted during the competition period. Sightings must be located within Australia. They can be from anywhere in Australia, not just from botanic gardens - though that's a great place to start!

To make it an even playing field. all players will have the same daily sighting submission limit during the period of the competition. The limit will be set before the competition begins, and announced on Update: The limit will be 5 sightings per player, per day. 

Scoring for sightings within the the Great Australian Biodiversity Challenge is based on QuestaGame’s in-game ‘gold’ rewards. Gold is awarded for sightings that you submit, based on the rarity (by location and season) of what you find. Note that plants are not yet scored on rarity, and instead receive minimum gold (and that we don't accept sightings of cultivated plants). Certain gold bonuses in QuestaGame will not count towards your Great Australian Biodiversity Challenge score.

Bonuses that will not be included in scoring:

  • Quest bonuses,

  • Head-to-head challenges,

  • Player of the day

  • Clan of the day, and

  • Equipment bonuses

Bonuses that will be included:

  • Correct ID bonus

  • Field notes

QuestaGame will accept just about any sighting of a living organism in the 'wild'. However, we won’t accept sightings of humans, domestic animals, cultivated plants, inanimate creatures, or animals that live in cages or other forms of enclosure. (This, by the way, is but a minuscule fraction of a minuscule fraction of all the life that exists on earth). If you are exploring your local botanic garden, see what 'wild' life you can find among the trees and shrubs - but please don't submit sightings of the garden's plants as these ones are cultivated and not wild!

You can submit up to 5 images for each sighting. However, you will only receive gold for one species per sighting.

QuestaGame won’t accept a second sighting of the same species if it is within 1 kilometre and 24 hours of the previous sighting. So for example, if you submit a photo of a monarch butterfly resting on a statue, QuestaGame won’t accept another sighting of a monarch butterfly within 1 kilometre of the same statue, unless 24 hours have passed.

IMPORTANT: For their protection, sightings of species considered to be threatened will not be awarded any gold.

QuestaGame may also not accept a sighting if we consider it "not suitable" for biodiversity records. This may occur if:

  • Photo is of a human (homo sapien) or includes a recognisable human. We humans are part of biodiversity, but right now, we need to learn more about the life all around us so we can better protect it.
  • It’s a pet. We're suckers for pets. Cute dogs and cats - all furry creatures, really. But unfortunately, we cannot accept sightings of pets.
  • It’s a cultivated plant. We all want to know more about the plants in our gardens, but we don’t accept sightings of cultivated plants.
  • It’s a domestic animal (such as a farm animal), or living in an enclosure (such as a zoo).
  • Multiple species. Please try to only submit one species at a time. You can submit multiple photos of the same species, but not multiple species in a single sighting.
  • Photograph(s) not clear enough to identify a specimen; or not enough photos of the specimen from different angles (you can submit up to 5 photos per sighting).
  • A screenshot, copied image, or a photo of a photo.
  • A duplicate submission.
  • A dangerous situation, for example near a road or from a car.

The easiest way to submit a sighting is to use your phone’s camera. However QuestaGame does accept sightings that use photos taken on non-mobile phone cameras (so long as you can work out how to upload them to your camera). The system does confirm the date stamp of the image though, so if that metadata is missing, it won’t accept the photo.

Photos obviously have to be your own work. If you are suspected of using someone else's images you will be warned, and repeat offenders will have their account deleted.

Identifications - Eligibility and Scoring

To be eligible for the 'Pays to Know Nature Bonus' and the 'Champion Identifier' prizes, identifications must be done through the BioExpertise Engine - (and not the in-game QuestaLab).

Identifications must be given during the period from the start of the competition to the time when all eligible sighting submissions are processed (i.e. when there are no more unidentified sightings from the competition period). This means you can continue to receive scores for identifications even after 20th August. 

A correct identification is only awarded for a specific identification if your suggestion matches the final verified identification. That is, if you correctly identify a sighting to a genus, but the final verified identification is at species level, unfortunately you miss out.

The 'Pays to Know Nature Bonus' is only able to be awarded to an Australian based organisation.

Prize categories


  • 'Winning Botanic Garden Team' will be determined based on the highest overall score for a botanic garden team from submitted sightings during the competition period. First prize is $1,500. Second prize is $1,000. The prize is awarded to the botanic garden who owns the team.

  • 'Pays to Know Nature Bonus' will be awarded to the organisation whose network of Bio-Experts (people who associate with that organisation when registering as a Bio-Expert) identify the highest number of number of species/taxa through our Bio-Expertise Engine. First prize is $700. Second prize is $400.

  • 'Champion Spotter - Highest score' will be determined based on the highest score for an individual from their combined sightings during the competition period. One prize only - $100.

  • 'Champion Spotter - Best Find' - will be determined based on the highest score for an individual from a single sighting during the competition period. One prize only - $100.

  • 'Champion Spotter - Best photo of an iconic Australian species' will be determined through QuestaGame’s Facebook page. A short list of photos from The Great Australian Biodiversity Challenge will be chosen by QuestaGame, with a winner to be determined based on the number of Facebook likes/engagements each photo receives. The Facebook post announcing this photo competition will be posted by the 23rd August, 2017 and will contain final details on how it will be conducted. One prize only - $100.

  • 'Champion Identifier' will be determined based on highest number of unique species/taxa identified by an individual (registered as a QuestaGame BioExpert) though our Bio-Expertise Engine during the competition period, and for the period afterward until all eligible sightings have been identified. One prize only - $100.