Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Citizen Science of the Ocean: An Idea Whose Time Has Come - by Guest Blogger Mike Bear

One of the best parts about citizen science is the interesting people you meet.  Sure, research and discovery are cool, but sharing that with like-minded amateurs makes it all the more fun.  Mike Bear is a gentleman I first talked with few months ago and who I've learned much from since.  And he's a passionate advocate for ocean-based projects.

Like many citizen scientists his initial background was not in science at all.  But after starting to scuba dive in 2000 he enrolled in several ocean-related citizen science programs that offered training in basic scientific method and data collection.  As a diver myself I completely see the connection...seeing the ocean's beauty makes you want to protect it, and participating in citizen science gives you a means to do so.  As time went on his interest grew to where he and a friend started their own ocean-related non-profit dedicated to creating and supporting citizen science programs called Ocean Sanctuaries.

This week I'm excited to have him talk about his program and a variety of others devoted to the oceans.  It has been updated and adapted from a piece originally published on (here) which I also encourage you to check out. 


In the bad old days of ivory tower academia, only scientists with white coats and Ph.Ds were considered qualified to gather and interpret scientific data—and, God forbid you should suggest otherwise.

Enter the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, where citizen scientists from all over the world (without Ph.Ds or white lab coats) can enter data about their bird sightings and even discover new species.

“Collecting the observations of everyday birders for scientific use is a hallmark of the Lab. Bird watchers of all ages and skill levels help gather the data needed to capture the big picture about the distribution and abundance of birds. Approximately 200,000 people participate in the Lab’s projects. The eBird database allows birders to track any of the earth’s 10,005 bird species to a single scientific database. So far, observations on 8,650 species from 200 countries have been recorded.

The observations of citizen scientists have helped document the declines of some species, the range expansions of others, and the spread of avian diseases. The observations of birders help the Cornell Lab study birds in cities, suburbs, and forests and help answer questions about how proximity to humans, pollution, climate change, and loss of habitat affect different species.”
Source: Citizen_Science

And, this is only one example.

So, what is a "citizen scientist" anyway?

The simplest definition is: ...anyone without formal training in science, who collects data using the scientific method, under the mentorship or supervision of a scientist. Some prefer the term community science and it is coming under more and more acceptance within the formal academic community as citizen scientists around the world prove that, with proper mentoring, accurate scientific data can be collected by non-scientists. 

Citizen science and the oceans

For those with a bent towards SCUBA diving and the oceans, there are several citizen science groups dedicated to training certified SCUBA divers how to collect and enter data about marine life.’s mission is to “to conserve marine ecosystems for their recreational, commercial, and intrinsic value by educating, enlisting and enabling divers and other marine enthusiasts to become active stewards and citizen scientists. REEF links the diving community with scientists, resource managers and conservationists through marine-life data collection and related activities. 

REEF envisions divers and marine enthusiasts actively engaging in marine conservation. With knowledge, training and the opportunity to get involved, these marine citizen scientists make significant and ongoing contributions through REEF’s strategic partnerships with government agencies, science and academic institutions, the non-profit sector, and local communities. Divers and snorkelers are in a unique position to observe and document the many valuable and vulnerable living marine resources. They play an important role in bringing information to the surface that adds to the knowledge base of ocean ecosystems and facilitates informed decision-making. Through REEF’s efforts, marine citizen scientists impart an ethic of stewardship to current and future generations.”

Reef Check

Reef Check is a slightly more rigorous program whose training is not free, but enables volunteer divers to collect data using many of the same methods used by professional marine biologists.
“Founded in 1996 by marine ecologist Dr. Gregor Hodgson, the Reef Check Foundation is an international non-profit organization dedicated to conservation of two ecosystems: tropical coral reefs and California rocky reefs. With headquarters in Los Angeles and volunteer teams in more than 90 countries and territories, Reef Check works to create partnerships among community volunteers, government agencies, businesses, universities and other non-profits. Reef Check goals are to: educate the public about the value of reef ecosystems and the current crisis affecting marine life; to create a global network of volunteer teams trained in Reef Check’s scientific methods who regularly monitor and report on reef health; to facilitate collaboration that produces ecologically sound and economically sustainable solutions; and to stimulate local community action to protect remaining pristine reefs and rehabilitate damaged reefs worldwide.”

Ocean Sanctuaries and National Geographic’s Citizen Science Tool: Fieldscope

San Diego’s most recent ocean-related non-profit, Ocean Sanctuaries [], recently teamed up with National Geographic to test its newest citizen science tool, called ‘Fieldscope,’ specifically adapted for documenting shark encounters along the California coastline.  Local divers can log sightings and submit photos of Leopard sharks, Horn sharks, Angel sharks, Tope sharks as well as pelagic species such as Blue, Mako, Great White and Thresher. Also, the Fieldscope app for smartphones is available for both Androids (on Google Play) as well as for iPhones here.

Learn more about Ocean Sanctuaries at: 

Learn more about Fieldscope at:

Ocean Sanctuaries and Sevengill Shark Sightings

Sevengill Shark Sightings was originally set up as a citizen science project to establish a baseline population study for the Sevengill Shark (Notorynchus cepedianus) in the San Diego and Southern California area and is now an Ocean Sanctuaries project. Local divers take high quality video or photographs and submit them for analysis by the pattern recognition algorithms in ‘Wildbook,’ a software program originally designed by Jason Holmberg to be used in identifying Whale sharks.

For more information on this project see:

And, for those with doubts about the quality of data collected in citizen science, a recent scientific paper in PLOS ONE by Gabriel Vianna of the University of Western Australia in showed that data collected by divers was as reliable as the telemetry used by marine biologists.  

Learn more about the study here.


  1. Let’s keep are safe place to play the very best free games for kids! Please click:

    - juegos friv gratis
    - Pokemon GO
    to play for free!

  2. I read this blog, thanks for sharing another great article.
    contact form | snapchat emoji

  3. This blog is so nice to me. I will continue to come here again and again. Visit my link as well. Good luck
    cara menggugurkan kandungan

  4. The blog or and best that is extremely useful to keep I can share the ideas. Age Of War 2
    Big Farm | Slitherio | Tank Trouble
    Of the future as this is really what I was looking for, I am very comfortable and pleased to come here. Thank you very much.
    Happy Wheels | Goodgeme Empire |

  5. This is one of the cult game now, a lot of people enjoy playing them . Also you can refer to the game :
    gold mine strike | pokemon go 2
    The game controls are shown just under . Movement mechanisms primarily include acceleration and tilting controls.
    stickman games | stick war 2 | animal jam 2

  6. I have been searching out for this similar kind of post for past a week and hardly came across this. Thank you very much and will look for more postings from you. I like play game Stick RPG, game Mutilate A Doll 2, game return man and game Potty Racers, and u?

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Thank you for sharing in this article
    I can learn a lot and could also be a reference
    I hope to read the next your article updates


  9. Thank you for sharing in this article
    I can learn a lot and could also be a reference
    I hope to read the next your article updates


    Obat Aborsi

    Jual cytotec asli

    Obat Penggugur Kandungan

    Cara Menggugurkan Kandungan

    Obat Terlambat Datang bulan

    obat aborsi asli



    Obat Aborsi


    Jual cytotec asli

    Obat Penggugur Kandungan

    Cara Menggugurkan Kandungan

    Obat Terlambat Datang bulan

    obat aborsi asli

    Jual Obat aborsi asli


    Salam Sejahtera Untuk Semua??? Kita Di Sini Mau Berbagi Sedikit Tentang obat aborsi asli Ampuh Atau obat penggugur kandungan.
    Mungkin Di Telinga kita Tidak Asing Lagi. Tentang Kata “ABORSI“. Apa Itu Aborsi???
    Bagaimana Cara Aborsi??? Dan Obat Aborsi Obat Pengugur Kandungan Apa Yang Di Pakai Untuk Aborsi??
    Info Lanjut Bisa Kunjungi Website Kami: obat aborsi Ampuh Aman Dan Terpercaya Terima Kasih Banyak.
    Dan Sekarang 80% Penjual Obat Aborsi Di Dunia Maya Hanya Lah Modus Untuk Menipu, Jika Anda Mau Order obat aborsi
    Sekarang Kita Memberi Tips Membeli Obat Aborsi Asli Semoga Semua Jadi Pembeli Yang Cerdas Dan Selalu Mengutamakan Kesehatan.

    Klik salah satu
    Call/WA :085 702 494 733
    BBM : D29AD2CE

  10. Truly very important information that can provide a bright spot for reference sources

    vimax asli kayu stigi gold scott Home Design Ideas Plans

  11. Not all are true. Everyone has their own way of thinking but I think they have to reconsider. I like to argue for the most accurate results.

  12. This is truly a great read for me. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work!
    HSC Result 2017

  13. bear did great work, nice post Bear.

  14. This is really a great article and great read for me. Its my first visit to your blog and i have found it so useful and informative specially this article.
    I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new articles. Keep up the good work!
    Mahalaya 2017
    JSC Result 2017
    Diwali Images 2017

  15. Very good post, thank you. I am surprised to find your website. Because Its my first visit to your blog and i have found it so useful and informative specially this post. I have bookmarked it and I am looking forward to reading new informative post like this.
    PSC Routine 2017

  16. Your website content nice nice and interesting to observe.
    WordPress Lüdenscheid

  17. Oh it's true. Thank you for sharing the post! Citizen science is the best.
    instagram viewer

  18. Thank you for sharing good information for health, may be useful for all of us

    do not forget to also visit our health article:

  19. Admiring time and energy you put into your website and detailed information you present. It’s great to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same old rehashed information. Great work keeps it up.

  20. Many thanks extremely practical. I will certainly share website with my buddies.

  21. Great publish, very informative. I wonder why the other experts of this sector do not realize this. You must proceeds up your writing. I'm sure, you have a huge readers' base already!

  22. First, Thanks for this wonderful information. This article is very helpful to all users. Thanks a lot for sharing.
    How To Close Apps On iPhone X
    iPhone Do Not Disturb

  23. semoga bermanfaat dan sangat membantu

  24. Greetings admin
    I like your topic, after reading your article very helpful at all and can be a source of reference
    I will wait for your next article updates
    Thank you, for sharing


    penirum asli

    Titan Gel


    Hammer Of Thor

  25. given article is very helpful and very useful for my admin, and pardon me permission to share articles here hopefully helped :

    Cara melangsingkan tubuh yang melar
    Obat herbal penurun berat badan
    Cara mengobati penyakit tbc

  26. We are publish Bangladesh all Education Board SSC Result 2018. SSC Result Dhaka Board, Barisal Board SSC Result, SSC Result Sylhet Board, Comilla Board SSC Result, Chittagong Board SSC Result, SSC Result Rajshahi Board, Jessore Board SSC Result, SSC Result Dinajpur Board, Madrasah Board Dakhil Result, Technical Board SSC Result.
    SSC Result Dhaka Board
    SSC Result Comilla Board
    SSC Result Chittagong board
    SSC Result Barisal Board
    SSC Result Dinajpur Board
    SSC Result Sylhet Board
    SSC Result Rajshahi Board
    SSC Result Jessore Board
    SSC Result Technical Board
    SSC Result 2018