University of Delaware researchers working with mid-Atlantic scallop fishermen invite citizen scientists to help survey the scallop population in the New York Bight, off the coasts of New York, New Jersey and Delaware by analyzing undersea images captured by a robot submarine named Dora. The SubseaObserver approach is designed to cover more terrain in less time while leaving the undersea environment undisturbed.

Citizen scientists view images of the seabed taken by Dora and submit their observations to project scientists, who in turn send information compiled from many citizen-scientist reports to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other agencies to manage the mid-Atlantic’s scallop population.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Art Trembanis, Associate Professor
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: University of Delaware, Coastal Sediments, Hydrodynaimcs, and Engineering Lab (CSHEL)
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Observation
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages

    Create an account via the SubseaObeserver home page and take a brief training mission to familiarize yourself with the project. If you get a passing grade on the training mission, you’ll be able to then send your own virtual autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) on missions in search of sea scallops.

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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