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Exploring Citizen Science Marine Conservation Programs

Article by GVI


Posted: March 11, 2023

Citizen science is a way of engaging members of the public in participating in scientific research projects. These initiatives involve citizen scientists collecting and reporting data on phenomenon such as water quality, wildlife, and climate.

As more people become aware of the damaging and accelerating impacts of global climate change, citizen science projects are becoming more popular among individuals interested in preserving our planet’s biodiversity, oceans, wetlands and other natural habitats. This guide will provide an overview of marine citizen science and discuss how to find and engage in citizen science projects related to the ocean.

Overview of Citizen Science Projects

Citizen science, sometimes also referred to as “public participation in scientific research,” is a form of scientific research that relies on volunteers to assist with collecting data. Citizen scientists are individuals who are not professionally trained scientists, but who are interested in participating in scientific research.

The data collected by citizen scientists is used by trained professionals to increase our understanding of ecological changes and other critical environmental challenges. There is a wide range of projects available for people to participate in, ranging from a single-day beach cleanup to regular participation in scientific data collection. Individuals from any age or background can take part in these projects and contribute to the advancement of science.

Benefits of Participating in Marine Citizen Science

Participating in marine citizen science projects offers a great opportunity to become involved in something meaningful and worthwhile. By contributing data to these projects, citizen scientists are providing valuable information that can help inform policy and conservation efforts. Participating is also an excellent way to become knowledgeable about the species, habitats and overall environment of the ocean while learning more about scientific research. It’s also a great way to connect with others who are passionate about the same topics. In addition, participating in citizen science can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.

Types of Projects Available

There are numerous types of projects that individuals can participate in for marine citizen science initiatives. Common projects include beach cleanups, water quality testing, habitat restoration, collecting data on species diversity, adding scientific observations to online databases, and surveying land use practices. All of these activities allow individuals to directly contribute to the advancement of scientific understanding related to the ocean.

Schoolgirl presenting project in front of science class

How to Find Projects

The first step in getting involved with marine citizen science is to determine what kind of project you would like to participate in. Once you have decided on a project, you should conduct some research to gain a better understanding of the project’s goals and objectives.

Marine citizen science projects can be found through research institutions, nature conservation organisations like GVI, environmental organisations, and universities. It’s also possible to find projects in your area by searching online through platforms such as Citsci.org, Zooniverse, SciStarter and ResearchGATE. These sites also provide detailed information about each project, such as its goals and objectives, data requirements, and any specific skills or information that may be needed.

Health and Safety

Safety should always be top of mind when participating in any kind of citizen science project. All participants should understand all potential risks and take appropriate steps to ensure their safety. This could include wearing safety gear (e.g., life jackets or masks), conducting regular maintenance on equipment or researching local weather conditions before heading out on the project.

When participating in a marine citizen science project, it’s important to be prepared for all potential scenarios. This may include researching safety protocols, such as wearing proper safety gear (e.g., life jackets, masks) in accordance with the project’s requirements. Potential hazards should also be monitored closely while collecting data, weather conditions may change suddenly and equipment may need to be replaced or maintained.

The best way to conduct citizen science projects safely is by joining existing volunteer programs that are professionally run. GVI has excellent health and safety procedures to enable you to participate in your project stress-free, knowing that everything’s been taken care of.

Successful Citizen Science Projects

Successful marine citizen science projects have resulted in increased public knowledge and understanding of various environmental challenges and solutions.

For example, The Gulfwatch project allowed citizens on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) coastlines to participate in water quality testing and monitoring project and results from this initiative have been used by the local government to inform management decisions around water pollution.

The Great British Transnational Wildlife Monitoring project has involved thousands of citizens collecting data on species diversity across the UK and Ireland; these observations have been used by policymakers to increase our understanding of changing species populations.

Join Marine Citizen Science Programs

Participating in marine citizen science projects is immensely rewarding and valuable. There is no better way to gain an understanding of the complexities of ocean activities and challenges, than taking part in studies that use first-hand observations.

GVI offers a range of adventurous citizen science programs including marine conservation, wildlife conservation and endangered species conservation. It’s an immersive opportunity to learn more about vulnerable ecosystems while contributing vital data to sustainable initiatives.

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