Marine Animal Identification Network (MAIN)

Marine Animal Identification Network (MAIN)

Much of what we know about marine mammal migration and behavior is the result of keen observation by patient naturalists, fishermen, citizen scientists and researchers. In many cases, we learn through the imprecise science of serendipity whereby a matrix of possibilities results in a report: the right person in the right place at the right time knowing the right person to contact.

Have you seen a seal or some other marine mammal with a tag? A uniquely marked individual? An interesting behavior? Or maybe you are not quite sure what it is you saw? The Marine Animal Identification Network (MAIN) provides information on tagged animals (primarily seals) and a database of sightings. MAIN hopes that citizen scientists will help in recording these reports and invites them to join. Learn about research on seals and other marine animals and participate in the process of learning about their travels.

MAIN is a project of the Northwest Atlantic Seal Research Consortium (NASRC). It was created with support from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Marine Mammal Center.

Project Details

  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: Northwest Atlantic Seal Research Consortium (NASRC)
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Observation
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages

    Register or login if you would like to track your sightings. Contact sealresearch@whoi.edu for more information.

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.

Share this Article: