School of Natural and Environmental Sciences


Citizen Science: Big Sea Survey

This project explores the value of ‘Citizen Scientists’ in contributing to marine species records, and our understanding of intertidal ecological processes.

Under the 2002 Convention on Biological Diversity, the European Council’s 2001 commitment to halting biodiversity decline, and the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, governments are committed to achieving quantitative targets in conserving biodiversity and ensuring its benefits are distributed equitably. To achieve these goals, tractable and robust mechanisms are required for monitoring environmental health and auditing levels of biodiversity. Increasingly, scientists and environmental decision makers are recognising the value of non-scientist expertise in effective and meaningful, environmental management and stewardship

Over three years, this project has trained and supported over 250 volunteers to quantitatively survey abundances of marine organisms in intertidal and estuarine habitats from St Abb’s to Saltburn, along the northeast coast of England. Our Citizen Scientists are recording arrival of marine invasives, investigating phenology of intertidal larval recruitment and studying inter-relationships in kelp communities. The project is investigating factors influencing volunteer commitment to environmental participation and the degree to which confidence can be placed in the robustness of data collected by such initiatives.