Cit Sci Communication A-Team: Inventory of Communication Tools in Cit Sci Projects
The version of the browser you are using is no longer supported. Please upgrade to a supported browser.Dismiss

View only
Publications Available:
Name of Cit Sci Program/ActivityDescription:
Geographic Region/Country:
Website (if available:Yes/NoIf yes, has it been placed in the Google Drive folder?Outreach Methods:Evaluation Methods:Additional Comments:
Angler Action ProgramThis is a family of smartphone/Web apps allowing recreational anglers to report information on trips. It was developed by the Snook and Gamefish Foundation, a sportfishing and conservation group based in southeast Florida.Focused in Florida, programmed to be used nationally. or ("Assessing the Utility of..." I feel a bit ashamed uploading my own paper...)UnsureEvaluated by researchers at the University of Florida in conjunction with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute.The Angler Action Program has a family of apps, like one for general recreational reporting, one specifically for fishing tournaments, one sponsored by Guy Harvey. There is also some sort of cloud service for the users themselves:
RecTextNC Sea Grant organized a text-message-based reporting framework for recreational and tournament data.North CarolinaThis was the only link I could find on it, as I don't believe it last more than a year or two ( does not appear to exist anymore): ("baker-oeschger...")UnsureNC Sea Grant paper only summarized the data collected but did not rigorously analyze it. However, they did conduct voluntary pre- and post-project surveys to assess the participants' (only 6 for-hire captains) familiarity with mobile technology and what they thought of the program afterward.SMS (text-message-based) mobile phone reporting is most likely not a viable option for citizen science initiatives, with the advent of apps that allow for much more information to be entered with a similar level of effort on the user's part. However, this program has some valuable lessons about how to include stakeholders and participants throughout the entirety of a citizen-driven reporting program.
iSnapperThis was started by the Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi as a pilot project allowing for-hire captains to report Gulf of Mexico red snapper data through a smartphone/tablet-based app. After its initial success, it was ultimately launched to all for-hire captains and private recreational anglers through the Google Play Store and Apple's App Store.Gulf of MexicoHere is an article for the general release (2015): (technical report)Yes ("CR954_Stunz_2014...") ("2015_iSnapper...")Unsure, but Texas Parks & Wildlife is a partner The technical report by Greg Stunz was a bit more expansive in scope than the NC Sea Grant paper on the RecText program. The pre- and post-program surveys provided lots of good responses from captains, and they were able to validate some of the captains' reports using MRIP data when those trips were also sampled by MRIP staff. The website below has a report for the 2015 year: In it the group uses some expansion methodology to take their samples and create a statewide landings estimate for Texas. I have not read it yet, but imagine someone will if we assign these programs out for further exploration. This provides a relatively unique program in this attempt to expand up to the population level. don't see any information beyond 2015, but it might be worth reaching out to this group at Texas A&M to see if there was further participation in and analysis of this program.
Urban Tides Community Science InitiativeUrban Tides is a community based science effort to photo-document tides, coastal flooding and beach erosion in Southern California. The initiative has designated a series of beach and wetland locations where the public can take photographs of changing tides, flooding and erosion, then upload them into a database. Southern California
Yes (it's a how-to document)Yes (UrbanTides_Instructions_Nov2016)Looks like they have newsletters for the program and a blog. They also have a hashtag #UrbanTides. They also have introductory/overview webinars, a flyer, beach walks and training sessions. Videos/video slideshows (Vimeo, YouTube) and email network.UnknownI know this isn't related to fisheries but I thought the taking pictures and uploading to an app was interesting and could be a method of citizen science involvement that could be explored. Adding to this thought - they have instructional guides for how to use the apps. It might be useful to get some feedback from them on what has worked/not worked in using apps.
REEF Volunteer Fish SurveyThe project allows volunteer SCUBA divers and snorkelers to collect and report information on marine fish populations as well as selected invertebrate and algae species in temperate reef areas . The data are collected using a fun and easy standardized method, and are housed in a publicly-accessible database on REEF's Website. there is a long list available on the REEF website: and Newsletter, REEF Fest (weekend of educational seminars, open house, social gatherings, and diving/snorkeling opportunties), Discussion forum, Training webinars, REEF Experience Level Testing, ID QuizzesThe program was designed in conjunction with marine scientist from NOAA, the University of Miami, and The Nature Conservancy. For over 2 years, a team of marine ecologists and fisheries managers monitored and carefully evaluated REEF's field methods and reporting procedures. Their study, published in the Bulletin of Marine Science in 1996, confirmed that the collected data are of extreme value to the scientific community. They found that fish surveys conducted using the REEF roving diver method meet several objectives: (1) Ability to collect large quantities of presence/absence and relative abundance data, (2) Indication of species distribution throughout a geographical area based on sighting frequency and abundance, (3) Specific species presence/absence and abundance lists may be presented for any given region, subregion, zone or site, and (4) Measures of similarity in species composition may be computed between any combination of geographical areas. Today, marine ecologists from NOAA, the State of Florida, Caribbean and Bahamas governmenta environmental protection offices, marine park management, and conservation groups are already putting information from REEF's database to good use. As the REEF Fish Survey Project has grown, several papers and products have been produced using the roving diver survey method and the REEF database. For a complete list, visit: In addition, the REEF Fish Survey Project has become integrated into several projects. These collaborations have included those with management agencies and other non-profit organizations. To read more about these papers and projects and about using volunteers data in collection, visit:
REEF Grouper Moon ProjectA collaborative conservation program between REEF and the Cayman Islands Department of the Environment studying Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus). The Project’s objectives were to observe the Nassau grouper spawning aggregation off the western tip of Little Cayman, and to develop a protocol for monitoring their numbers and activity at the site. REEF has coordinated annual efforts to monitor and study the Little Cayman Nassau grouper aggregation.Cayman Islands, there is a list available on their websitelive-feed video chats (from underwater), PBS documentary, blogs, lectures, podcast, magazine articles
See a Saw - Citizen Science Sawfish ProjectThe Sawfish Conservation Society is helping researchers from around the world to measure sawfish saws. The researchers are exploring the differences between sawfish saws to better understand the five species of sawfish. For this study researchers need to measure a large number of saws and have asked the Sawfish Conservation Society to reach out to citizen scientists to help. Worldwide and Click on See a Saw on the right hand side of the page.NoThey have a YouTube video about how to measure a saw. I learned about the program at a talk at AFS conference. Unknown
Florida Horseshoe Crab WatchThe Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is required to collect data on fisheries within the state. Citizen scientists are helping the state keep track of population numbers and better manage horseshoe crabs. The program is a standardized citizen scientist program started in Cedar Key FL, which takes advantage of beach nesting behavior to collect valuable information about breeding horseshoe crabs. The program is soon to be implemented statewide. Volunteers walk a known section of beach at predetermined times and count the number of horseshoe crab mating groups observed. A subset of crabs are collected, tagged with a small, numbered disc, and release back to the wild. FloridaNoThey have a blog and they do training for the program. I believe there are also signs posted in Cedar Key to let people know to report tagged animals. Outreach though the FL SeaGrant and FWC websites and social media pages, through the FL Master Naturalist Program website and listserv, and through a FHCW Youtube channel. Much of their recruitng comes from "organic" word-of-mouth recruiting from current and past volunteers and at the formal public training workshops. Not sure
Great Goliath Grouper Count (GGGC)In 2010, Florida Sea Grant initiated a joint collaboration with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWC/FWRI) to coordinate an annual citizen science event to provide data as related to the recovery of goliath grouper in Florida. The Great Goliath Grouper Count (GGGC) is modeled after the National Audubon Society’s Annual Christmas Bird Count during which volunteers conduct a one-day nationwide census of bird observations. For the GGGC, volunteer divers collect data on goliath grouper abundance and size distribution at designated artificial reefs throughout Florida during the first two weeks of June.
Participants are trained by Florida Sea Grant on survey techniques and data recording.
Standardized data reports are submitted to FWRI.
Community partners include local governments, county sheriff divers, charter captains, and volunteer dive groups.

No website, but here's an article about it from 2016:
yes-poster presented at AFS and 2014 draft summary year 5 reportFluech et al. GGGC poster and 2014_GGGCParticipating Sea Grant Agents post information about the GGGC on the MarineScenePlus newsletter:
Videos of the count have also been posted in the past on participating agent soical media accounts. Sea Grant Agents have held training sessions with their volunteers to provide updates, protocol reviews. The GGGC has also been presented at various workshops that agents host.
Participating agents have evaluated volunteers about their change in knowledge/awareness of goliath grouper as a result of particpating in counts. The effectiveness of the program has also been assessed based on FWC-FWRI and/or researchers being able to use the data collected by volunteers. Dr. Angela Collins (FL Sea Grant) will be the best person to talk to about how the data are specifically being used. The GGGC collects information on counts, location, and sizes of goliath grouper. Size estimates are done by trained divers - counties use trained divers such as artificial reef county coordinators/stakeholders, dive groups/shops. Data goes to stock assessment group at FWRI. The program is still running. Fish counts typically occur during the first week of June. There is interest in expanding counts beyond Fl as there are more reports of GG in other states (ex: GA, LA). The program has maintained consistency over time at the sites that were started at the beginning of the program, and have increased sites over time.
Shrimp Black Gill TrackingUGA Marine Extension/Georgia Sea Grant are engaging commercial shrimpers to help track the occurancce and severity of black gill in shrimp. Shrimpers are asked to randomly select 30 shrimp out of try net or full drag and record how many have black gill. Efforts began in 2015 and shrimpers were asked to record data with pen and paper. Recognizing the value of these data and the need for more real-time information, UGA SKIO and College of Engineering developed a shrimp Black Gill Tracker App in fall of 2016. Free to download for iPhone and Android phones. Currently undergoing beta testing by volunteer shrimpers to assess its usefulness. Overall goal is to increase surveillance of black gill prevleance and severity.
Primarily Georgia but some
participating in South Carolina
Yes, but website is still in initial development.
Goal is to have a resource for users to see where and
reports submitted. Eventually educational materials
will also be incldued to serve as a one stop shop for
shrimp black gill.
yeswill uploadDock visits with fishermen
announcements on shrimper listserv
public presentations, articles
development of promotional posters to go up at fish houses
App usergruides given outt to fishermen
In intial stages; To date, shrimpers have provided input on how to make app more useful- these suggestions help shape the current app layout, which is being used by some shrimpers. Goal is to survey shrimpers at end of this season on reason(s) why they did/ didn't use app or collect black gill data on pen/paper. Will use this ifnormation to further refine outreach efforts. If all goes well, we hope to have a larger roll out of the app for next season.Not surprisingly, initial use of app has been slow. Overall feedback from shrimpers indicate they think the App is a
good idea, but getting them to use it has been a whole other matter. Consistent reminders and follow up
have been important to keep users engaged.
Local Environmental Observer (LEO) NetworkOnline community that connects citizens with technical experts to identify and document signs of environmental change. This digital platform allows network members, coordinators, and collaborators to build media-rich postings, including photos, videos, and linkages to data, literature, and other resources. Topics can encompass any aspect of the environment such as plants, insects, fish, marine life, terrestrial species, unusual weather patterns, and more.worldwide; Also, paper on "LEO, the Local Environmental Observer Network:
a community-based system for surveillance of
climate..." is in the Google Drive folder
online video; Also looks like there is some version of a climate-related newsletter.Unclear. They did have a 2017 report web page, but it was very long and didn't have a download option making it difficult to digest the full set of information.I sent an email to the LEO outreach POC to ask about their outreach and evaluation methods so will add anything if I hear back. (Laura O)
Eyes of the ReefThe goal of the EOR is to inform, engage and train community members, ocean user groups, managers, NGOs and others in identification of coral bleaching, disease or COTS outbreaks and aquatic invasive species. The EOR Network is a broad outreach and education program that helps to provide the critical first tier of Hawaii’s Rapid Response Contingency Plan and promote community stewardship of our valuable marine resources.Hawaii no, a list of short reports are available on the website: video
Phytoplankton Monitoring NetworkThis NOAA initiative promotes a better understanding of harmful algal blooms with help from volunteers who sample local waters twice a month and identify the phytoplankton found.U.S.
nodata are available online, but there doesn't appear to be a reportunknown; Couldn't find much more than the webpage for volunteers ('t find any detailed information, but what they did have that was interesting was a listing by year of the science and manageme outcomes that were the direct result of volunteer efforts. For example: "2009:
Phytoplankton Monitoring Network volunteers efforts in the Alaska Kachemak Bay silver salmon mortality event, lead to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game changing its smolt release procedure to include phytoplankton observations." While this information could have been highlighted more upfront, having quick bullets on volunteer contributions is a nice strategy to consider. See for more details.
Steller WatchVolunteers help review 100,000+ digital images of Steller sea lions to help NOAA researchers identify marked animals. Info is used to investigate movement patterns and life history rates, such as survivorability and natality.Alaska
noblog, other methods unknown. This project is part of Zooniverse which is an enormous citizen science platform. Likely many of the recruits stumble onto Stellar Watch while working on other Zooniverse hosted projects. Probably by 2 things: 1) Numbers of volunteers and images analyzed. A recent count can be found at: 2) Also I believe to help ensure accuracy, the zooniverse project is set up such that each image is analyzed by (7 I think) people and a majority must submit the same results for that data to be officially submitted. This project is also unique in that the citizens are not providing data directly, but are culling out images and selecting "high priority" images for scientists to review
California Collaborative Fisheries Research ProgramThe California Cooperative Fisheries Research Project (CCFRP, co-founded by Rick Starr, Moss Landing Marine Lab, and Dean Wendt, Cal Poly) utilizes volunteer anglers to conduct a hook-and-line survey to monitor the nearshore fishes within California's Marine Protected Area (MPA). Four MPAs and adjacent reference site pairs have been monitored since 2007. The project is expanding to coast-wide in California in 2017, to include an additional five-seven MPAs. In addition, otoliths and fin clips will be collected from species from outside the MPCalifornia - uploaded 3 papers (CCFRP 1, 2, and 3)
Sound ToxinsSoundToxins is a harmful algae monitoring program in Puget Sound, Washington State. This is a partnership of Tribes, Environmental learning centers, private citizens, shellfish growers, state and federal scientist to use microscopy to provide an early warning of shellfish toxicity. State managers view the data to make decisions about shellfish closures or enhanced
Delaware Bay Horseshoe Crab SurveyThe Delaware Bay Horseshoe Crab Survey was founded in 1990, and received government support beginning in 1999. Volunteers collect data on Horseshoe crabs through beach surveys, providing critical information for scientists and policymakers about Horseshoe crab populations in the Delaware Bay.Delaware
1.; 2.
Environmental Monitors on Lobster Traps (eMOLT)Dozens of New England lobstermen have been attaching NEFSC-supplied temperature probes to their traps since 2001. Given hourly time series at fixed locations in a variety of depths, the fishermen themselves are collecting the data to document a dramatic warming in the last decade.New Englandemolt.orgyesLink is available here:{"page":46,"issue_id":393210}
"Puget Sound's Most Wanted" - citizen scuba reporting of juvenile ESA-listed rockfishCitizen divers can opportunitistically report rare yelloweye, canary and bocaccio rockfish to "" by taking a picture, and noting location and depth of the fish. Washington
Cooperative Shark Tagging ProgramThe NMFS Cooperative Shark Tagging Program (CSTP) is a collaborative effort among recreational anglers, the commercial fishing industry, biologists, and NMFS to study the life history of Atlantic Sharks. Initiated in 1962, the CSTP is one of the largest and longest running shark tagging programs in the world. The information collected by CSTP volunteers creates an enormous body of scientific data for understanding distributions and migration patterns for more than 50 Atlantic shark species.East Coast yesSee link:
Atlantic Shortfin Mako Shark Live Release Program and Release Mako App
This program promotes conservation measures and encourages the live release of Atlantic shortfin mako sharks by allowing fishermen to report their live releases of shortfin mako sharks to gain recognition on an interactive webmap and awarding a certificate of appreciation that tracks their live releases of shortfin mako sharks over time. This reporting can take place online or through the Release Mako app, which allows for releases to be reported on the water and uses automatically populates the release location through GPS. The website and app also provide more information about shark fishing regulations, stock status, tagging programs and links to other outreach and educational materials. East Coast
San Gabriel River Sea Turtle MonitoringOnce a month, volunteers watch, count, and record sea turtle sightings for 30 minutes at stations arranged at set intervals along the San Gabriel River where sea turtles are known to reside. The data collected is recorded and used to help understand the ecology and population dynamics of green turtles in the northern extent of their range along the U.S. west coast.California;
Indirectly related report:
Tarpon Genetics Recapture StudyThe Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
(FWC), in collaboration with Mote Marine Laboratory,
encourages anglers throughout the state to genetically
sample tarpon, regardless of size, before releasing them.
A small sample of skin cells collected from the outer
jaw provides enough DNA for identification purposes.
The FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI)
will evaluate the genetic samples over time to estimate
recapture rates. The study also may help determine
how tarpon travel between Florida's estuaries
and offshore areas.
Initiated in Florida, but samples collected
from the region
Yes-quarterly online newsletters sent to participants who submitted samples
created a video on how to collect
samples and where to submit them
No, publications on line:
FWC promoted the program at fishign tournaments, trade shows and other
fishing-related outreach events. They created sampling ktis to distribute
to anglers. FWC coordinated with Sea Grant Agents, individual anglers
and Angler groups
to promote the program and to distribute sampling kits as well. Several
Florida Sea Grant Agents promoted the program through creation of
fact sheets, social media and videos. FWC established a network of
dropoff sites where anglers could submit their samples and pick up additional
kits. Participants who submitted samples were entered into drawings to win
prizes. They did bi-montly drawings. FWC sent out annual newsletters that provided
progam summaries so anglers can see how their data are being used. Also
had a recognition program for anglers who submitted most samples-competition
among anglers became a motivating reason to particiapte. Program
partners also received certificates of appreciation.
Multi-year project; participant numbers tracked to documents increase/decrease in participation as well as the number of tarpon samples submitted. Project organizers did survey participants about why the particiaptedThe citizen science piece of this project is done, but it was considered a major succes.It engaged
anglers who were very active in collecting samples and promoting the program. The study was
clear and up front about its purpose, which made it easier for participants to support it. FWC was
able to get sponsors and funding from sportfish restoration to help support the project.Here's the link
to the final newletter, which provides a nice overview of the project and why it was so successfull.
Dr. Kathy Guindon was the coordinator. She is still with FWC, but I don't have her contact information.

Main menu