Citizen Science

a blue whale equiped with a tracking device
Photo of tagged blue whale for identification purposes. Photo: Kevin Bailey

Citizen science, scientific data collection conducted in part or entirely by members of the public, provides valuable support for sanctuary monitoring and resource protection programs. Explore the projects below to learn how citizen scientists have contributed to sanctuary research projects!

Marine Mammal Sightings and Photo-ID

Members of the Channel Islands Naturalist Corps (CINC) volunteer program serve as community scientists recording marine mammal sightings and collecting data on other important resources within Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and Channel Islands National Park. CINC citizen science data supports the following research projects:

Whale Alert

Endangered whales are killed by ship strikes each year. The most dangerous areas are busy shipping lanes. The Whale Alert program invites nature lovers, fishers, and mariners to help reduce ship strikes to whales. The success of Whale Alert depends on citizen scientists who report observations while whale watching from land and at sea. When a whale sighting is tagged in the app, the information is uploaded to a database used by biologists and resource managers. Whale Alert is supported by NOAA, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, and many other partners.

Long-term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students (LiMPETS)

LiMPETS is a citizen science program for students, educators, and volunteer groups. Citizen scientists monitor the coastal ecosystems of California's national marine sanctuaries, increasing awareness and stewardship of these important areas. The statewide program connects over 6,000 citizens annually to the ocean, covering more than 60 sites and over 600 miles of California coastline. LiMPETS participants contribute real data for real scientists, experience hands-on scientific endeavors that take place in the field, and become a part of a new generation of informed ocean stewards. The LiMPETS network is a collaborative effort among California's national marine sanctuaries, Greater Farallones Association, Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History and USC Sea Grant.

Additional Citizen Science opportunities

Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF)

Reef Check - California