Are you looking for ways you can help the ocean as a citizen scientist? Not being a marine biologist doesn’t mean you can’t help out with ocean science. Everyone is welcome to join, with full training given. Here are some of our favourite citizen science projects that currently need your help. And the great thing is many of them can be done from the comfort of your own home (or near your home):
For Whale Fans
Beluga Bits: Every year, 50,000 beluga whales migrate south to the Hudson Bay river estuaries for the summer. Help identify the age, sex, and group size of beluga whales by examining photographs taken during this event. Identify their unique markings to recognise individual belugas that return year after year.
For Coral Fans
NeMO-Net: Help NASA classify reefs by painting 3D images of coral, other shallow marine environments and creatures from locations all over the world. Unlike other citizen science projects, this one has been made into a single player iPad game.
For Seal Fans
Seal Watch: Monitor populations of seals across the world by tagging time-lapse and drone photographs. This research will help answer a range of questions that will lead to a better understanding of how threats to the ecosystem disrupt the dynamics of resident wildlife.
For Manatee Fans
Manatee Chat: This citizen science project is all about listening to the chatter of manatees from audio recordings to work out what they are saying. Volunteers listen to manatee calls recorded through hydrophones and then classify them. Eventually deep learning models will learn to do these tasks automatically.
For Shark Fans
The Great Egg Case Hunt: Seek out and record sightings of shark egg cases on beaches. What started as a British project has grown into a global movement to understand more about shark diversity and abundance. The next time you’re at the beach, take a look and record your findings. It’s a citizen science project that’s perfect for little sea fans to get involved and learn about the underwater world.
For Litter-free Fans
Litterati: When you’re out for a walk, simply photograph any piece of litter you come across. The app will then geo-tag the image and recommend tags for the type of litter. The information is then used to measure the scale of pollution around today, and the data is used to create positive, enviornmental change. And of course, if you can, pick up and dispose of the litter safely.
For Seabird Fans
Seabird Watch: Sadly the world’s population of seabirds is in trouble. You can help by joining this citizen science project and monitoring seabird colonies to work out population changes, and what threats they face.
For Whale Shark Fans
Wildbook for Whale Sharks: Upload photos of your whale shark encounters showing the unique pattern of spots behind the gills. Marine biologists use this photo library and information to learn more about these amazing creatures.
For Kelp Fans
Floating Forests: Uncover the history of the Giant Kelp forests around the globe by helping to trace these amazing floating forests using satellite imagery.
For Basking Shark Fans
Basking Shark sightings: Basking Sharks are one of the most widely protected and managed sharks in UK and EU waters. Yet, not that much is known about them. Help change that. If you’re lucky enough to spot a basking shark (or any shark for that matter) around the UK, make sure you record your sighting, including time, date and ocean conditions.
You don’t have to be a scientist to be a citizen scientist
We’re always on the look out for new ways to help the ocean. If you know of a citizen science project then share it with us in the comments below. Or why not check out other ways you can take action for the ocean today.
Have you thought about joining a volunteer project and contributing to ocean science that way? From monitoring the health of coral reefs to protecting turtle nesting beaches, there are projects all over the world who rely on citizen scientists to join in and make a difference.