Digital Fishers

Digital Fishers

Over its first two years of operations, NEPTUNE Canada has recorded thousands of hours of video, both during installation dives and from underwater cameras installed across its subsea network. All this video needs to be studied, but the organization’s software is not yet sophisticated enough to automatically identify a wide variety of animals and other features. By playing Digital Fishers, citizen scientists help researchers gather data from video, and unveil the mechanisms shaping the animal communities inhabiting the deep.

NEPTUNE Canada and the University of Victoria’s Centre for Global Studies (CFGS) developed Digital Fishers with help from $1 million in funding from CANARIE, Canada's Advanced Research and Innovation Network.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Rod Dobell, Senior Research Associate
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: University of Victoria’s Centre for Global Studies
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Observation
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages

    To participate, visit the Digital Fishers Web site, sign up and watch a short 15-second segment of video. As you view various animals and your surroundings, you can describe what you see by selecting from the fields below the video screen. These fields include: sea life, water clarity, seafloor composition, and any other objects you see (natural or human made). There is also a comment field where you can add more information. Your “annotation” then gets attached to that segment back at the NEPTUNE Canada database.

See more projects in FreeObservationAll Ages.

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

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