Hayle beach Cornwall Natash Ewins

Since 2003, citizen scientists have been reporting jellyfish and turtle sightings in UK waters. This provides our scientists with vital information to learn more about our ocean visitors and protect marine wildlife.

How to get involved

While humans are causing problems for marine wildlife, we can also provide the conservation solutions – but we must be informed by data. That's where you come in!

Moon Jellyfish-32012-Mark Kirkland

Credit: Mark Kirkland

Whether you live by the coast or visit the seaside on your holidays, we want you to tell us every time you spot a jellyfish. Or, if you're lucky enough to spot a turtle, we want to hear about that too.

There are eight different jellyfish, or jellyfish-like, species and six marine turtles that you might see in our waters.

It’s really easy to tell us what you have seen, just fill in the online sightings form including where you were and what species you saw. Don’t worry, we’ve made some useful ID guides so you can identify which species you’ve spotted!

Your sightings matter

Without your data, we wouldn't be able to prove that our ocean is facing problems and our push for solutions wouldn't be backed by science. It's a key part of our work and you can play a vital role in protecting our oceans.

We use your wildlife sightings to:

  1. Discover how jellyfish and turtle populations are changing around the UK – specifically when and where they are occurring each year.
  2. Investigate trends in turtle sightings to find out more about how they use our waters.
  3. Explore whether jellyfish distribution can tell us more about where leatherback turtle feeding grounds may be.
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Credit: Colin Speedie

Citizen science to the rescue

All the information you collect builds a clearer picture of the health of our seas and life below the surface. It enables scientists to spot changes over time. We can use this research to inform policies and introduce conservation strategies to better protect our ocean.

We publish your wildlife sighting data with our university partners. This gives us baseline knowledge that we can use to track future changes which could indicate the impacts of major environmental issues, like climate change.

Meet the research team

Meet one of the scientists who use the data we collect about wildlife sightings in the UK as part of their research into our seas.

Abigail McQuatters-Gollop - Associate Professor of Marine Conservation, University of Plymouth

"As a plankton ecologist, I investigate how plankton species interact with each other and their surroundings. I focus on using science to inform policy, which helps to manage and protect our ocean.

"I've used the data to investigate how jellyfish sightings around the UK are changing over time and what might be driving this"

Abigail McQuatters-gollop
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This project is funded by the Government's Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The fund was developed by Defra and its Arm's-Length Bodies. It is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.

Report a jellyfish sighting

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