Shark Count

In 2016, researchers from the Universidad San Francisco de Quito-Galapagos Science Center, Galapagos Conservancy and the Galapagos National Park Directorate released Shark Count, a mobile app used to report on the presence of animals around the Galapagos Marine Reserve. By gathering data from guides and tourists, the app enables researchers to track changes in the numbers of megafauna observed over time (in particular: sharks, fish, sunfish, turtles and rays). After a dive, the user reports the number of species encountered (with help from the built-in species identification guide), the conditions of the water, and any photographs that were captured. This data is useful to track the impact of the Reserve on the health and biodiversity of the ecosystem and has the added benefit of involving citizens in the monitoring of wild species, leading to a deeper understanding of the environment. While there may be a higher likelihood of error in sightings due to citizens’ limited knowledge of species, the higher volumes of data collected seem to outweigh this risk: the number of reports in the first year of the app’s usage more than doubled the number of observations by scientists and collaborators in the region between 2008-2015.


Aesthetic/Leisure, Biodiversity, Citizen Science, Data, Ecological Monitoring, Lifestyle, Monitoring, Regulation