eOceans is a citizen science tool that crowdsources ocean data on sharks, stingrays, coral reefs, and general marine ecosystem health. eOceans was founded in 2013 by Christine Ward-Paige, who sees the rise in citizen science activity within conservation initiatives as a powerful tool to aid researchers who would benefit from data from a variety of locations, which is of particular importance for marine research on species that have a wide habitat range. Citizen scientists can be divers, snorkelers, fishers, sailors, or researchers themselves, and as long as they collect data with approved techniques, contributions are welcome to be submitted. The highest priority for eOceans is to have standardized, high-quality data, so they request that data, unlike in other citizen science apps, not include pictures. Instead, citizen scientists should collect data by conducting “check-ins” (recording data at the same point in regular intervals), and “auto-tracking” sampling techniques (belt transects, distance sampling, and roving) and reporting observations on their app. In the view of Ward-Paige, pictures themselves are just snapshots of a particular species and do not provide any information beyond that species present in that location at one particular time. Pictures also are not generally useful for assessments of the ocean or even a species’ status. In many ways, the lack of a certain species could be more telling. eOceans regularly reviews and standardizes data so that participating scientists and community leaders who solicit the data can depend on eOceans as a source of high-quality data. eOceans prohibits the sale of their data to any industry or persons who cause damage or exploit the ocean as well. This organization and its app have a very strong emphasis on quality, which could dissuade popular use, but that also means that the integrity of their data is very high. 


Biodiversity, Citizen Science, Ecological Monitoring, Psychology, Regulation