Coastal cruises provide many opportunities for undertaking citizen science projects that contribute valuable data to conservation organisations, such as the Marine Conservation Society and the Sea Watch Foundation.
Tall ships are ideal platforms for citizen science, given their relatively stable platform and the number of helping hands on board. As Seas Your Future is all about personal development, citizen science activities are a natural addition to all of our sail training voyages this summer.
Led by experienced scientists, citizen science activities are introduced with the view to also enhance the trainees connection with nature, knowledge of the marine environment and human impacts upon it.
On our voyage from 25th August to 8th September, the citizen science projects I introduced included exploration of the marine biosphere, the atmosphere and pollution:
- identification of marine mammals at sea during systematic transect surveys (data reported to the Sea Watch Foundation)
- identification of seabirds (British Trust for Ornithology)
- search for non-native species along the shore (‘Capturing our Coasts’ – EU Citizen Science)
- systematic beach litter picking (Beachwatch – Marine Conservation Society)
- atmospheric science, weather and clouds (NASA GLOBE Observer: Clouds)
In addition, we used our microscope with digital display to study anything from molluscs and bryozoa to the fascinating world that forms the base of the marine food chain, such as microscopic algae (phytoplankton) and the diverse world of tiny animals and their larvae (zooplankton).
This summer, all of our Scientists in Residence at Seas Your Future collected many hours worth of data for conservation organisations, and helped young people to understand more about the marine ecosystem and what all of us can do to support their thriving into the future.
*STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and maths
Featured Image: Samples of bryozoa colonies on kelp under the microscope. (c) C Braungardt