- Project Dates: July 2015 - October 2018
- Project Leader: Dr Jane Delany
- Staff: Jacqueline Pocklington Charlotte Foster
- Sponsors: Heritage Lottery Fund Durham Heritage Coast
- Partners: University of Hull; Portsmouth University; Marine Biological Association; Marine Conservation Society; Bangor University; Scottish Association for Marine Science ; Durham Heritage Coast, Northumberland Wildlife Trust; Thanet Coast; Northwest Coastal Forum; Cefas ; Natural History Museum.
This project will train and support a network of ~3000 volunteers to identify, and quantify the abundance and distribution of, marine species on a national scale, and to participate in studies that will address key ecological questions that will inform policy, conservation and science. Activities have been designed to ensure the robustness of the data collected, and to be tractable to volunteers. Being led by a network of research active scientists as formal partners, this project will have at its heart robust marine evidence gathering and hypothesis testing, as distinct from a main focus of awareness raising and family level engagement of most marine citizen science projects. The approaches and methodologies have been tested over a three year period in Newcastle University’s very successful Big Sea Survey. Additionally, the project will raise awareness of marine issues and affect attitudinal change across UK society on a scale that is aimed to be an exemplar model of ‘Citizen Science’ (CS); studies into the efficacy of the project to achieve these objectives will be undertaken. Internet-based ‘crowd-sourcing’ and ‘smart’ application technologies will be used to bring the project to a wider non-coastal audience, and to people who want to engage remotely outside of the ‘trained-volunteer’ route. The budget for this initiative is £1.7million UK stg and with in-kind contribution totals £1.9million UG stg.