Developing Citizen Science
Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM)
This project aims to develop an effective citizen science program for monitoring rocky intertidal sites along the West Coast of the United States. The primary goal of this project is to create a monitoring protocol for volunteers to collect useful, high-quality data that evaluates perturbations in these rocky intertidal sites. These data will provide important insight about coastal ecosystem health and could serve as a reference for policymakers to make informed management decisions. The group will be working closely with its client, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), and its Multi-Agency Rocky Intertidal Network (MARINe) partners.
The group’s approach begins with conducting a literature review to highlight advantages, challenges, resources, emerging technologies, and costs of citizen science programs. The team will then develop a citizen science data collection protocol to be tested by public participants at Coal Oil Point and Carpinteria State Beach. This protocol will be a modified version of the current MARINe monitoring protocol so that data collected by citizen scientists can be integrated into MARINe’s existing database. A group of volunteers will be trained to test the citizen science protocol, and evaluate and compare the data they collected with those collected by professional MARINe scientists. The citizen science protocol will be designed with the intent of creating an app for data collection on a smartphone or tablet device. The team believes that this approach will help address some common concerns about data collected by volunteers, and pave the way for a successful citizen science monitoring program.