//
you're reading...

Policy

Citizen Science in the New Year!

6629028023_aee7e76fd7_b

Citizen Science, by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, 2011.

We here at OceanBites are passionate about bringing science to you, our audience, in an accessible way. But at the end of the day, we know that reading about cool research projects and unexpected discoveries only brings you so close to the action. Some of you may be pursuing degrees to enter a scientific field, while some of you may have branched off to work in unrelated areas. Others may only have a love for the topic, but not the associated professions. Ultimately, our shared passion is for the ocean—and luckily with the advent of technology, people don’t need specialty training to help contribute to ongoing scientific studies. Welcome to the world of citizen science!

With 2017 barely a week old, many of you may have resolutions and goals for the next 358-odd days. If you have a goal to get more involved in science, a smartphone, and access to a computer, then the following review will give you a good idea of what opportunities are out there. This list is by no means comprehensive—only a few global initiatives are presented.

Interested in observing animal life? Many scientists rely on population data for ecological modeling, crafting policy initiatives, or measuring biodiversity. These first few programs are a bit more intensive, and also rather traditional in their methods.

300px-heron_bommie_svii

By © Underwater Earth / Catlin Seaview Survey – CC BY-SA 3.0

REEF Project: Do you have experience as a diver, recreationally or professionally? Why not test your skills with fish identification the next time you’re out? The REEF Project’s Volunteer Fish Survey Project is free to join, although the field supplies will cost you a few dollars. If you’re concerned about your fish identification abilities, don’t worry—they’ve got online courses to help you! And if you’d rather spend time observing invertebrates and algae, they’ve got a similar initiative here.

SharksCount Program: Are you more of a thrill-seeker? Would you prefer your data collection to involve swimming with sharks? If so, check out SharksCount. These apex predators are dwindling in number all over the world, so it’s critical we know how many are left.

jelly_cc11

Jellyfish, CC BY-SA 2.0

With smartphones becoming the norm in everyone’s pockets these days, many initiatives are turning to the mini-computers to help with data collection. Using GPS and basic recording techniques, these projects are making sure observers the world over can upload information.

JellyWatch
: Jellyfish may not be the most exciting sea creatures, but they are very important to ecosystems. Given the punch their stings can pack, too, it’s often better to know where they pop up. JellyWatch does just this with free iPhone or Android apps for participants to record sightings.

1280px-black_sea_fauna_seahorse

Seahorse; by Florin Dumitrescu, CC BY-SA 3.0

iSeahorse: Who can resist these little guys? iSeahorse is an initiative geared toward documenting and identifying seahorses to guide conservation efforts. It’s free to join, and you can download an app for iPhone or Android to upload sightings while you’re in the field.

And for those of you who are more interested in the ocean’s physical and chemical properties, a recent test of a citizen science initiative in Europe resulted in the development of the EyeOnWater-Colour app. This project aimed to allow people to use their smartphones to assess the color and clarity of bodies of water since smartphone cameras are standardized. Just be sure not to lose your phone to the depths when you snap the shot!

9735145201_527667603e_m

Plankton Portal; Oregon State University, 2013.

Plankton Portal: What if you can’t dive, don’t often visit the ocean, or don’t own a smartphone? Why not try Plankton Portal, a web-based, photo identification exercise crowdsourcing thousands of images of plankton to get an idea of biodiversity in the Mediterranean and California currents. Their tutorial is straight forward, and the images of this alien world are amazing!

Ultimately, there are many opportunities out there for you to get involved. Check for local or regional projects that suit your interests and schedule. Ask around at universities to see if they have any programs hosted on their campuses. (For example, URI participates in the URI Watershed Watch.) Inquire with aquariums or outreach programs—you never know what cool things others might be up to. Or check out SciStarter if you have a specific area of interest. Remember, you don’t always need a degree to participate, and there are plenty of researchers out there eager to have you on their teams.

Discussion

One Response to “Citizen Science in the New Year!”

  1. A great article! Here in NZ, the ‘Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment’ has helped fund a ‘curious minds’ fund – which was wonderful, as it has assisted a small town and local dive club, to set up a citizen science project, assisted by marine biologists – to study a reef 11km offshore at 23m depth. We are on FB ‘A South Taranaki Reef Life Project’. The Project has been ‘like a rolling stone’ and has gathered far more aspects than we had envisaged when we initially set up the Project. We hope to continue the research indefinitely. The benefits to science and the community are huge!

    Posted by Karen Pratt | January 8, 2017, 12:38 am

Post a Comment

Instagram

  • by oceanbites 2 weeks ago
    Not all outdoor science is fieldwork. Some of the best days in the lab can be setting up experiments, especially when you get to do it outdoors. It’s an exciting mix of problem solving, precision, preparation, and teamwork. Here is
  • by oceanbites 1 month ago
    Being on a research cruise is a unique experience with the open water, 12-hour working shifts, and close quarters, but there are some familiar practices too. Here Diana is filtering seawater to gather chlorophyll for analysis, the same process on
  • by oceanbites 2 months ago
    This week for  #WriterWednesday  on  #oceanbites  we are featuring Hannah Collins  @hannahh_irene  Hannah works with marine suspension feeding bivalves and microplastics, investigating whether ingesting microplastics causes changes to the gut microbial community or gut tissues. She hopes to keep working
  • by oceanbites 3 months ago
    Leveling up - did you know that crabs have a larval phase? These are both porcelain crabs, but the one on the right is the earlier stage. It’s massive spine makes it both difficult to eat and quite conspicuous in
  • by oceanbites 3 months ago
    This week for  #WriterWednesday  on  #Oceanbites  we are featuring Cierra Braga. Cierra works ultraviolet c (UVC) to discover how this light can be used to combat biofouling, or the growth of living things, on the hulls of ships. Here, you
  • by oceanbites 3 months ago
    This week for  #WriterWednesday  at  #Oceanbites  we are featuring Elena Gadoutsis  @haysailor  These photos feature her “favorite marine research so far: From surveying tropical coral reefs, photographing dolphins and whales, and growing my own algae to expose it to different
  • by oceanbites 4 months ago
    This week for  #WriterWednesday  on Oceanbites we are featuring Eliza Oldach. According to Ellie, “I study coastal communities, and try to understand the policies and decisions and interactions and adaptations that communities use to navigate an ever-changing world. Most of
  • by oceanbites 4 months ago
    This week for  #WriterWednesday  at  #Oceanbites  we are featuring Jiwoon Park with a little photographic help from Ryan Tabata at the University of Hawaii. When asked about her research, Jiwoon wrote “Just like we need vitamins and minerals to stay
  • by oceanbites 4 months ago
    This week for  #WriterWednesday  on  #Oceanbites  we are featuring  @riley_henning  According to Riley, ”I am interested in studying small things that make a big impact in the ocean. Right now for my master's research at the University of San Diego,
  • by oceanbites 5 months ago
    This week for  #WriterWednesday  at  #Oceanbites  we are featuring Gabby Stedman. Gabby is interested in interested in understanding how many species of small-bodied animals there are in the deep-sea and where they live so we can better protect them from
  • by oceanbites 5 months ago
    This week for  #WriterWednesday  at  #Oceanbites  we are featuring Shawn Wang! Shawn is “an oceanographer that studies ocean conditions of the past. I use everything from microfossils to complex computer models to understand how climate has changed in the past
  • by oceanbites 5 months ago
    Today we are highlighting some of our awesome new authors for  #WriterWednesday  Today we have Daniel Speer! He says, “I am driven to investigate the interface of biology, chemistry, and physics, asking questions about how organisms or biological systems respond
  • by oceanbites 6 months ago
    Here at Oceanbites we love long-term datasets. So much happens in the ocean that sometimes it can be hard to tell if a trend is a part of a natural cycle or actually an anomaly, but as we gather more
  • by oceanbites 6 months ago
    Have you ever seen a lobster molt? Because lobsters have exoskeletons, every time they grow they have to climb out of their old shell, leaving them soft and vulnerable for a few days until their new shell hardens. Young, small
  • by oceanbites 7 months ago
    A lot of zooplankton are translucent, making it much easier to hide from predators. This juvenile mantis shrimp was almost impossible to spot floating in the water, but under a dissecting scope it’s features really come into view. See the
  • by oceanbites 7 months ago
    This is a clump of Dead Man’s Fingers, scientific name Codium fragile. It’s native to the Pacific Ocean and is invasive where I found it on the east coast of the US. It’s a bit velvety, and the coolest thing
  • by oceanbites 8 months ago
    You’ve probably heard of jellyfish, but have you heard of salps? These gelatinous sea creatures band together to form long chains, but they can also fall apart and will wash up onshore like tiny gemstones that squish. Have you seen
  • by oceanbites 8 months ago
    Check out what’s happening on a cool summer research cruise! On the  #neslter  summer transect cruise, we deployed a tow sled called the In Situ Icthyoplankton Imaging System. This can take pictures of gelatinous zooplankton (like jellyfish) that would be
  • by oceanbites 9 months ago
    Did you know horseshoe crabs have more than just two eyes? In these juveniles you can see another set in the middle of the shell. Check out our website to learn about some awesome horseshoe crab research.  #oceanbites   #plankton   #horseshoecrabs 
  • by oceanbites 9 months ago
    Feeling a bit flattened by the week? So are these summer flounder larvae. Fun fact: flounder larvae start out with their eyes set like normal fish, but as they grow one of their eyes migrates to meet the other and
WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com