CCS MPA Watch Data Analysis

MPA Watch Data Analysis


Project Duration





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, is leading the analysis by incorporating novel and interdisciplinary analytical methods to better understand the drivers of human use and consumption along California’s coast. 


Resources Legacy Fund


Ocean Protection Council, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, MPA Watch

Blog entry

New reports on Community and Citizen Science in California’s Marine Protected Areas

The Center’s analyses will inform the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Decadal Management Review of MPAs

CCS in MPAs Report

Since Spring 2021, two project teams at the UC Davis Center for Community and Citizen Science have been collecting and analyzing data related to the contributions of community and citizen science participants in coastal monitoring activities within and surrounding marine protected areas (MPAs) throughout the State of California.

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