With our coasts and ocean changing faster than ever before, Citizen Scientists will play a huge role in helping science to protect them.
What animals live along our shore? Where do dolphins go? How can we protect this reef? Why not go and see for yourself! Marine Citizen Science projects in Europe and beyond are already answering these questions. Marine Citizen Science is where members of the general public collaborate with scientists to gather and analyse data on the marine environment and its many inhabitants. It is a powerful tool. The coastal and ocean environments are vast, and there are still many creatures to discover and many questions to answer.
Approximately 95% of the sea floor is still to be surveyed in detail, and there could be between 500,000 and 2 million marine species still to discover. It would take many lifetimes for scientists to explore them alone. This is where Marine Citizen Scientists come in. The data collected and analysed by willing and interested volunteers is invaluable to the development of scientific knowledge, and inreturn, can provide many benefits to the volunteers. And with knowledge comes power. The new knowledge generated will be essential for a more sustainable use of these precious environments in the future. “Marine Citizen Science has the potential to not only influence the environmental impacts of society through behavioural education and knowledge, but also to empower citizens to engage constructively
in the development and implementation of truly fit-for-purpose and evidence-based maritime policy” says Jan Mees, Director General, Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ).
A new Position Paper, published by the European Marine Board, present the opportunities, challenges and best practice for Marine Citizen Science, and presents a vision for its future in Europe. At a time
when the marine environment is changing more than ever before, Marine Citizen Scientists will pay a vital in understanding the changes, their impacts, and what can be done to prevent further damage to the ocean on which we depend so heavily. The time for cooperation between science and society is now.
So what might you find at the sea shore this summer? Hopefully Marine Citizen Scientists!
You can find out more on the website: www.marineboard.eu