Meet the Citizen Scientists
3 minute read
From cleaning beaches to spotting seaweeds, our dedicated citizen scientists play an essential part in protecting our ocean. We meet some of the wonderful people who collect and provide vital data to help save our seas.
Diana Sellers and Zoe Jones
Both Diana Sellers and daughter Zoe Jones are volunteers who take part in our Beachwatch programme. They've adopted several stretches of beach at Easington 4 in East Yorkshire, which they regularly clean.
Credit: Diana Sellers
“We enjoy clearing the beach of debris which we know helps remove dangers for marine life. On one of our beach cleans, we had to disentangle a crab which was caught in fishing line and would have perished on the next tide. As well as cleaning our beach we were able to save a life, which was very rewarding.”
Wildlife Sightings & the Big Seaweed Search
Vicki regularly takes part in several of our citizen science projects. She collects beach clean data, records seaweeds for the Big Seaweed Search, and has reported several wildlife sightings to us.
Credit: Vicki Hall
“I love getting involved with the citizen science projects run by the Marine Conservation Society. I'm a guide at Padstow Sealife Safaris, so I regularly spot marine life at work and I report any jellyfish I see.
I decided to take part in these citizen science projects because they enable me to contribute to important scientific projects and make me feel like I’m doing something to help protect our ocean.
For recent graduates like me, it’s also a great way to enhance your CV and learn new skills. I think citizen science projects are so important because everyone can take part with as much or as little involvement as they like!”
Ingrid is a recently qualified Seasearch observer who takes part in Seasearch dives, recording the marine life she encounters. By providing detailed information about the habitats and species distribution around our coasts, this data helps inform important decisions about marine management and conservation.
“The world under the surface has always mesmerised me and gotten me into freediving. Joining Seasearch was just the added dimension that I needed to inspire me to do better at my amateur underwater photography and to never stop taking a closer look at everything around me.”
Credit: Ben Lamming
Big Seaweed Search
Sandra, left, and Jane Minion during a Big Seaweed Search
Credit: Caitlin Godfrey
Sandra is one of our volunteers, who took part in a Big Seaweed Search on Blue Monday, where she started to "learn the language of seaweed".
“I swim in the sea every week, so spend a lot of time on the beach. I can identify the seabirds and I’d know a seal or a dolphin if they popped up, but seaweed?! I always see it when swimming but didn't know anything about it, so when I heard about the Big Seaweed Search, I jumped at the chance.
Despite the freezing condition during the session, it did brighten up my day. We clambered over rocks, looking with purpose and getting very excited when we could identify serrated wrack!
I left the beach that day armed with my Big Seaweed Search guide, new knowledge, and a desire to get to know seaweed better. That morning has changed the way that I look at the beach forever.”
Source to Sea
Matthew is an active member of our Youth Ocean Network and recently took part in our Source to Sea Litter Quest, clearing litter from around a river and preventing it from making its way to sea.
Credit: Billy Barraclough
“Keeping environments free from pollution is crucial. It allows us to protect biodiversity and maintain healthy, stable ecosystems – which is vital in the face of climate change. We're all connected to the ocean in one way or another, so it’s crucial to protect species and promote healthier ecosystems.
Cleaning up litter also keeps blue spaces like beaches and rivers clean. These areas are essential for our emotional and physical wellbeing, so keeping these spaces clean allows more people to enjoy them and feel a stronger connection to nature. Taking part in a clean meant I could do my part, however small, in protecting these areas.”
Big Seaweed Search
Chris regularly runs Big Seaweed Search events and is one of our most consistent surveyors. She also trains and helps us to train other people so they can take part.
Credit: Chris Townsend
“I’d studied Marine Botany decades ago and love seaweeds, so felt inspired to run an annual Big Seaweed Search survey in Portscatho, Cornwall, with a group of local volunteers. Through this project, we’re able to contribute to real scientific research and help work out how climate change might be affecting seaweeds.
The Big Seaweed Search helped me stay actively involved in both science and community life – and celebrate my 70th birthday! Our surveys inspired me to run other events like Seaweed Workshops and Seaweed Pressing, raising awareness about seaweeds and climate change. Together we have put seaweeds on the map for our local natural history group Wild Roseland.”