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Zooniverse Seafloor Explorer

Zooniverse Seafloor Explorer

Zooniverse invites the public to help identify objects they see in images of the seafloor through a new interactive Web site called "Seafloor Explorer," the result of a collaboration between oceanographers studying seafloor habitats, Web programmers and social scientists.

Citizen scientists will indicate whether they see fish, scallops and other organisms in each image, provide basic measurements and describe whether the seafloor is sand or gravel, and whether they see boulders and other interesting objects in the frame.

The project's organizers have more than 40 million images, but have launched the site with a preliminary set of 100,000—all of them taken by HabCam, a habitat mapping underwater vehicle. HabCam was developed and built by the HabCam group, which comprises marine biologists and engineers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) as well as fishermen and other scientists. The Seafloor Explorer interactive Web site was funded by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and built in collaboration with the HabCam Group by the Citizen Science Alliance (CSA), the developers behind interactive sites found on Zooniverse.org.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Scott Gallager, Biologist
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: WHOI and the Cooperative Institute for the North Atlantic Region National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Data Processing
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages
  • TIME COMMITMENT: Variable
  • HOW TO JOIN:

    Log on using a Zooniverse ID and password, or create a new one.

See more projects in FreeData ProcessingAll 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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