Dive In To Summer Citizen Science

Image of scuba diver, from below, silhouetted against sky
Summer is the perfect time to get your feet wet with citizen science! (via Pixabay, uncredited)

It’s July, ideal for cooling off with marine science exploration. In that spirit, here’s some wet and wild science research that needs your help.

Sharks Are Jawsome!

Photo of hammerhead shark
Hammerhead sharks are among the coolest, craziest fish in the sea (credit: Barry Peters, via Flickr Creative Commons, CC BY 2.0)

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the television, it’s Shark Mania Season! If the wall to wall shark viewing frenzy puts you in the mood for citizen science, consider helping real shark researchers study real sharks! Check out this collection of projects featuring sharks and their Friends and Family.

View a recorded discussion between SciStarter LIVE and scientific diver Michael Bear about his work with the sevengill shark and how you can safely observe these amazing creatures and help scientists with your findings. Dive in and watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/lOgcqHWf4cE?si=OQb3vZO5uFDWFxWb

Shark-Free Exploration

Interested in exploring undersea realms without submerging? Tide pools are just the thing. (credit: Nick.van.laar, via Flickr Creative Commons, CC BY 2.0)

If you want to get your feet wet, but maybe not above your ankles, check out the Ocean Sanctuaries’ Tide Pool Project. You’ll explore these fascinating little natural aquariums, documenting the creatures that live there and sharks are rarely among them. This iNaturalist project is based in California; for other areas, search iNaturalist for “tide pools.”

Catch a Wave!

Silhouette of surfer with surfboard nearly vertical
Some wild surfboards will do anything to buck off their riders. (credit: John William Hammond
Public Domain, via Flickr Creative Commons)

Do you surf? Do you want to help preserve coastal areas? Then you’ll want to catch a ride on Surfrider, a project that helps protect beaches for surfers and non-surfers alike. Among their many projects is the Blue Water Task Force, which empowers nonscientists to conduct water quality testing through 50 chapter based labs.

Report Plastic Pollution

With the Marine Debris Tracker app, you can repot on beach litter while you walk (credit: Credit: Sergei Tokmakov, via Pixabay)

Plastic pollution is an enormous problem, especially in marine environments where it kills fish, turtles and marine mammals that consume it or get stuck in it. With Marine Debris Tracker, you’ll report on debris washed up on shorelines, providing data that helps target remediation efforts.

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About the Author

Bob Hirshon

Bob Hirshon

Bob Hirshon heads up Springtail Media, specializing in science media and digital entertainment. He is Principal Investigator for the NSF-supported National Park Science Challenge, an augmented reality adventure that takes place in National Parks. Hirshon headed up the Kinetic City family of science projects, including the Peabody Award winning children’s radio drama Kinetic City Super Crew, McGraw-Hill book series and Codie Award winning website and education program. Hirshon can be heard on XM/Sirius Radio’s Kids Place Live as “Bob the Science Slob”, sharing science news and answering children’s questions. At SciStarter, Bob edits the Citizen Science Podcast.