The Great Eggcase Hunt Project

The Great Eggcase Hunt Project

The Shark Trust, a U.K. charity dedicated to the worldwide conservation of sharks, is promoting a citizen project called The Great Eggcase Hunt Project.

Since 2003, the Great Eggcase Hunt has engaged the public in hunting for spent shark, skate and ray eggcases (or ‘mermaid’s purses’) washed up on beaches throughout the year. This project asks members of the public to scour beaches for these empty capsules and then use an identification guide to discover which species they belong to. The waters around the British Isles support a diversity of shark, skate and ray (elasmobranch) species, many of which have experienced significant population declines in recent decades.

These empty eggcases are an easily accessible source of information on the whereabouts of potential nursery grounds and will provide the Trust with a better understanding of species abundance and distribution.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Ali Hood, Director of Conservation
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Fieldwork
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages

    Visit The Great Eggcase Hunt Project Web site and read the project’s instructions.

See more projects in FreeFieldworkAll 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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