As divers, the love for our oceans runs deeply through each of us. Whenever we are out of the water, we are anticipating our next dive. With each trip below the surface, we find something new that makes us never want to leave. With our deep respect for our oceans also comes a strong desire to protect it at all costs. One of the best ways we can do this is to join citizen science projects each time we dive and do what we can from the land.
Citizen science for divers opens up many new ways that we can assist in saving our oceans with each dive. It also adds a new layer to your dives, and a task to accomplish. Knowing that you are giving back to our oceans forms an even greater bond than you had before.
EarthDive is one of the easiest ways scuba divers can help scientists learn more about our oceans. This program partners with the United Nations Environment Programme to monitor the changing state of the world’s oceans. After each dive, no matter where you are in the world, you can log everything that you saw, just as you would in your dive log. This will be added to a global database for scientists and other divers to access.
What you see on your dive can make a difference in the understanding of our oceans by tracking key species. It can also help a scientist with their research on one or more marine species. Other divers may also use what you’ve logged to help them decide where they want to dive next. Just dive as you normally would and then record everything in their Global Dive Log.
Based out of the University of Queensland, this scuba diver citizen science programme is working to better understand our corals, coral bleaching and climate change. The creators made an easy-to-use coral chart based on the four main colours of corals. With this, anyone is able to study the health of corals as they dive and monitor changes.
As you dive, take the coral watch chart with you and pick corals at random, or specific ones. You then use the chart to pick which colour best matches the coral that you are looking at. You can write these numbers down and report the data back to coral watch. If you dive somewhere regularly, you will be able to see how the colours may fluctuate. This is a great way to get involved while you dive. You can also help educate friends and family about the health of our coral reefs!
Nemo fish, or clownfish, are one of the most popular fish to see by divers and non-divers. After the Disney movie Saving Nemo, these fish grew in popularity for the aquarium trade. Because the demand for them has increased, wild population numbers are declining. Saving Nemo aims to educate people about clownfish and increase population sizes.
With their citizen science project, you can help them collect data about clownfish from around the world. If you dive and see an anemone fish, take a picture and observe the fish and anemone. Send your data to Saving Nemo so they can keep track of the health of the fish in the area. This is an easy and fun observation because we all love diving with clownfish!
One of the most incredible creatures to dive with are manta rays. Something about the way they fly through the water always intrigues scuba divers, and we can’t look away. Unfortunately, manta ray populations are decreasing and scientists need to know more about them to help them. This scuba diver citizen science project was created to get more people involved. Its database is revolutionising scientific research around the world.
While diving and you see a manta ray, try to take a picture of their unique belly spots. These spots help scientists track each individual manta ray. You can help scientists learn more about these amazing creatures. With more knowledge, we can protect these creatures from further population loss.
Dive Against Debris – Project AWARE
Diving in polluted waters is a heartbreaking experience. It is our first impulse to grab the trash and bring it back to the surface with us so it doesn’t harm the marine life. This good deed is another way you can be a citizen science diver. When you dive, bring a mesh bag with you to collect and debris that you may find. After your dive, you can log everything collected into Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris site.
Since 2011, this programme has recorded over one million pieces of trash in our oceans. They have a goal to record another million before the end of 2020. Though this seems like a negative goal, recording numbers shows how big of a problem trash is for our oceans. Their global debris report improves water management around the world. It also brings awareness to our global pollution problem.
Even when you can’t get in the water you have a chance to make a difference. CleanSwell is a citizen science project created by the Ocean Conservancy for people to log trash collected on beaches. The data impacts decisions made by researchers and policy-makers around the globe.
You can organise your own beach clean up or participate in one hosted in your area. You can even simply go by yourself to your nearest beach and clean up whatever you see. Afterwards, log the trash you have collected into their CleanSwell app. This citizen science project helps motivate people to clean beaches and educate others about the impact of our trash. With this data, they are working on finding solutions to our ocean’s trash problem.
Citizen science projects for divers are the first steps you can take to protect what you love the most. Each dive gives you a chance to help maintain our ocean ecosystems and help scientists learn more. You can then spread your knowledge to everyone you know who dives or snorkels. With more people involved, we can help scientists get much more data than if they worked alone. When we come together, big change is possible.