Citizen scientists are the future!

7th Feb 2018

Citizen scientists are the future and even though this is nothing new, recently it has been catapulted into the public consciousness! For hundreds of years amateur scientists have collected data and information to help us understand the environment.

In the UK alone, organisations such as the RSPB and The National Trust have millions of members and thousands of active volunteers that help us to protect the countryside. From regular weekend beach cleans on the Isle of Man to recreational divers documenting the levels of marine litter, volunteers are more important than ever, to help limit damage to the environment and identify the threats it faces.

Recreational divers make a contribution. In Norfolk, whilst collecting information about marine conservation zones, volunteer divers have discovered a submerged prehistoric forest and in the Isle of Man they were the first to find a horse mussel reef.

Citizen scientists were hugely important in getting the basking shark onto the UK protected species list, and the satellite tagging of these species has recorded the first transatlantic crossing by a basking shark.

The UK is home to some phenomenal wildlife and habitats and it houses some species that need a huge amount of help to safeguard their future. We know from more than fifteen years work that citizen science has a crucial role to play at the highest level and how impactful it can be, particularly when used alongside traditional publicly funded research.

Dedicated citizen scientists have been critical to the work we do at ORCA– we couldn’t do it all without our army of volunteers. We are continuing to work hard to protect whales and dolphins using the passion and energy of our supporters to make sure we can create a safe and sustainable future for cetaceans around the UK and beyond.