Update on citizen science on-board BC Ferries

Social Sciences

- Anne MacLaurin

L-R: Research assistant Stephen Phillips, grad student Ziwei Wang and Costa. Photo: UVic Photo Services.

Citizen scientists helped researchers this summer better understand ocean health and declining salmon populations in the Salish Sea. Approximately, 1270 passengers on BC Ferries took part in an onboard coastal naturalist program and learned how to use a tablet and app to collect images of the sea and sky.

“This type of crowdsourcing is very useful to scientists,” says UVic geographer and FOCOS (ferry ocean colour observation system) project lead Maycira Costa.

The images were used to define and document the colour of the water—the greener the water, the higher the ocean productivity and health. The data collected from the citizen scientists was validated and accurate so the program can now be expanded to tablets used on fishing boats in the Salish Sea.

For anyone who wants to learn more about water colour and ocean health, the HydroColor App is available to download from iTunes and GooglePlay.

The project is funded by the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) network and Irving Shipbuilding Inc., as announced in Feb. 2016, as well as the Pacific Salmon Foundation, MITACS, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the BC Knowledge.

Read more about this story in the Ring article published July 13, 2016.


In this story

Keywords: oceans, technology, industry partnerships, salmon, citizen science, geography

People: Maycira Costa

Related stories