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Invited Session Speakers and Abstracts


Saturday, April 25, 2015


Dr. Eduardo Ochoa
California State University, Monterey Bay

Paul Michel
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Dr. James Lindholm
James W. Rote Distinguished Professor of Marine Science and Policy,
Director of the Institute for Applied Marine Ecology, CSU Monterey Bay
Chair, Sanctuary Research Activity Panel
Research Representative, Sanctuary Advisory Panel

Dr. Andrew DeVogelaere (Moderator)
Research Coordinator and SIMoN Program Director
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Sourcing the crowd: The unique science behind your day at the beach

Dr. Steve Haddock
Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Your eyes are some of the most important tools we have for monitoring ocean health! Scientists and engineers have developed sophisticated instruments for measuring all kinds of properties of the sea, but even these high-tech gadgets have serious limitations. They only measure in the few locations where they are deployed, and they are unable to sample the biology and diversity necessary to assess ocean health. Researchers around the world are increasingly reliant on armies of citizen scientists to gather data on fish, whales, birds, mammals, jellyfish, and even large ocean waves. The observations collected are incredibly unique and important: they provide coverage across times and regions that cannot be achieved by conventional means. This talk will describe some of the marine-related crowd-sourcing projects, their challenges and successes, and how *you* can get involved.

What is it and why should i care? Educational outcomes in citizen science

Alison Young
Citizen Science Engagement Coordinator
California Academy of Sciences

What do participants in marine citizen science project get out of participating, besides some time with the ocean and potentially some wet shoes? Well-designed citizen science projects not only generate important and useful data, but also educate those involved. Education via citizen science is not just limited to youth- and classroom-focused projects; adult volunteers, families, and even the scientists themselves all experience learning outcomes through participation in citizen science. Starting with the intertidal citizen science work we do at the California Academy of Sciences and expanding out to other marine projects – including projects that are entirely online – this talk will explore the many ways citizen science educates about the marine environment, increases science literacy, and connects people to the ocean and each other.

Tapping into the public's skills—how citizen scientists become experts

Dr. Jan Freiwald
California Director
Reef Check California

Citizen science has become widespread and contributes towards many scientific and educational goals. Programs focus on public engagement in resource management, education and life-long learning, and research and data collection. While many projects benefit from the involvement of large numbers of volunteers to cover vast geographic areas other programs relay on highly trained groups of volunteers to implement monitoring or research projects. For example, citizen science projects in challenging environments, projects that require species identification at a moment's glimpse or estimate difficult biological parameters require specialized skills. Similarly, to collect quantitative data in situations in which data collection is expensive and opportunities are rare, programs need skilled and reliable volunteers. To participate in these projects, volunteers often need preexisting, particular skills and/or go through extensive training programs. This talk will explore how citizen scientists become experts and draw from marine and terrestrial examples of programs that require highly skilled volunteers to collect quantitative scientific data.

Eyes on the water: Engaging the general public in the field

Lauren Hanneman
Science and Environmental Policy, California State University, Monterey Bay

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the "Serengeti of the Sea" is the largest of the fourteen Sanctuaries. Visitors range from local to international, from tourist to fishermen, from bird enthusiast to prospective hunter, presenting exciting challenges in the communication of important information across such diverse audiences. How receptive is the tourist in learning that he/she has just flushed a raft of endangered otters, including moms and pups, for a picture? How does the out-of-town fisherman with his son who used to fish these waters with his father react to learning that the Slough is now a protected MPA? How do we, as citizen scientists, handle situations when somebody feels exempt from the laws protecting these species because they are "local?" This talk will describe what it really looks like to be on the ground level, interacting with both the scientists and the public. One size definitely does not fit all!

A spectrum of citizen science—cooperation, collaboration, and crowds

Dr. Jennifer Caselle
Research Biologist and Lecturer
Marine Science Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara

Citizen science has a long history, beginning with the great naturalists of the 18th century. Modern definitions of 'citizen science' vary widely and raise questions relating to: nature of the participants (paid vs. volunteer vs. student), level of training (professional vs. expert amateur vs. novice), level of participation, input into design, and purpose of the project. Citizen science can often be the most practical way to achieve the large-scale geographic extent required to address ecological questions relevant to species range shifts, migration patterns, disease spread, broad-scale population trends, and impacts of environmental processes like climate change. However, there may also be issues of data quality and management that must be dealt with. In this talk I will explore issues related to the very definition of citizen science and provide examples of programs focused on marine habitats and protected areas in California that span a continuum from 'contributory' to 'co-created'.

Reviewed: April 11, 2024
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

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