CCS Marine and Coastal CCS

Marine and Coastal Citizen Science

Overview

How can marine and coastal citizen science provide opportunities for communities while contributing to scientific knowledge and its application? Our research on marine and coastal CCS has examined the unique challenges of working in this environment, and developed insights that can be applied across many different contexts.

MPA Watch

Citizen science plays a crucial role in conserving and managing California’s ocean and coastal habitats. Thousands of volunteers, working on more than 10 different projects, have played a role in collecting monitoring data along California’s marine protected areas (MPAs). 

One of these is MPA Watch, which recruits and trains local volunteers to collect scientifically rigorous data to improve our understanding of how MPAs are being used by the public, what ecosystem services they are providing, and their effectiveness in providing healthy habitat for wildlife. This citizen science initiative monitors human use of coastal natural resources and helps communities collect relevant, accurate, and broadly accessible data.

To join in this effort, the Center for Community and Citizen Science is collaborating with the Ocean Protection Council, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Resource Legacy Fund, and MPA Watch to analyze data recorded by MPA Watch volunteers over the past decade. Dr. Michael Dobbins, a quantitative and spatial ecologist, will lead the analysis by incorporating novel and interdisciplinary analytical methods to better understand the drivers of human use and consumption along California’s coast. Watch this space for more news about our work with MPA Watch and California’s thriving coastal citizen science community!

Publications


Co-edited by Dr. John Cigliano and our Faculty Director, Heidi Ballard, Citizen Science for Coastal and Marine Conservation provides a broad range of case studies exploring the utility and feasibility, as well as limitations, of using marine and coastal citizen science for conservation to leverage these resources and address these tensions. The book also provides critical considerations (i.e., which questions and systems are best suited for citizen science), and presents recommendations for best practices for successful marine and coastal citizen science projects.
 

Freiwald, J., Meyer, R., et al. (2018). Citizen science monitoring of marine protected areas: case studies and recommendations for integration into monitoring programs. Marine Ecology.

Meyer, R., Meyer, E., Sievanen, L., and Freitag, A. (2017). Using citizen science to inform ocean and coastal resource management. In J. A. Cigliano & H. L. Ballard (Eds.), Citizen Science for Coastal and Marine Conservation. Routledge (Taylor & Francis).

Freitag, A., Meyer R., and Whiteman, L. (2016). Strategies Employed by Citizen Science Programs to Increase the Credibility of Their Data. Citizen Science: Theory and Practice. 1(1): 1-11

Cigliano, J. A., Meyer, R., Ballard, H. L., Freitag, A., Phillips, T. B. & Wasser, A. (2015). Making Marine and Coastal Citizen Science Matter. Ocean and Coastal Management. 115: 77-87

Past Projects

Scaling Up Effectiveness for Coastal Citizen Science

Over the course of their lives, people learn most of the science they know outside of school, in informal educational contexts of their own choosing. This project examined such “free-choice learning” in the context of COASST — a successful and long-running citizen science program spanning much of the West Coast of North America. Researchers used quantitative and qualitative approaches to advance understanding of how learning and engagement work for COASST volunteers, and what that means of the success of the program in terms of engagement and retention of volunteers, and broader outcomes related to scientific knowledge and its application. Researchers at the Center collaborated with the University of Washington and Oregon State University, with funding from NOAA Sea Grant.

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Global Collabinar: Building Connections – Citizen Science & the Ocean

December 4th, 2019

We are looking forward to our next Global CCS Collabinar! Please join us online or in-person for —

Building Connections:
Citizen Science and the Ocean

Wednesday, December 4th
from 3:00pm-5:00pm PST

Dr. Rachel Kelly from the Centre for Marine Socioecology, Tasmania will present new marine citizen science research, and we will discuss developing programs to support the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Please see below and event flyer for more details and RSVP.

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Position Announcement

Postdoctoral Scholar

Position has been filled

MPA Watch logoThe Center for Community and Citizen Science (CCCS) and the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior (CEPB) seek an accomplished quantitative social scientist to lead a project focused on human use of coastal and ocean resources. The postdoctoral scholar will conduct analyses of data generated by MPA Watch, an innovative citizen science project in which volunteers collect data about onshore and offshore human activities along the California Coast (learn more at mpawatch.org). The position requires high-level statistical methods in R, including spatial models and the capacity to estimate models that include missing data and data that is only partially observed across geography. The role also involves working with state agencies and non-profit partners involved in the adaptive management of California’s network of marine protected areas. 

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MPAs and Citizen Science in California

Citizen and Community Science plays a special role in efforts to conserve and manage California’s ocean and coastal resources. There is a huge diversity of projects and programming operating up and down the coast, which engage the public in science and monitoring, often with direct connections to policy and management processes.

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New Book: Citizen Science for Coastal and Marine Conservation

Co-edited by Dr. John Cigliano and our Faculty Director, Heidi Ballard, this new volume provides a broad range of case studies exploring the utility and feasibility, as well as limitations, of using marine and coastal citizen science for conservation to leverage these resources and address these tensions.

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