What We Do
The promise is awesome: thousands of sailors voluntarily collecting valuable ocean data as they cross the seas — work that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars if research vessels were used. But there’s peril: Can you trust the data?
“There is always an element of ‘data unreliability’ when many different people are collecting data,” admits Federico Lauro, the leader behind the project to crowdsource sea science described this week in the journal PLOS Biology.
But the team has an answer: Keep it simple. “Our approach is to use automated instrumentation that will self-collect samples and eliminate the ‘human error’ aspect,” says Lauro, a marine microbiology professor at Australia’s University of New South Wales.
For the Indigo V Expeditions team, crowdsourcing sea science on a global scale is doable and critical.
“We are seeing the rise of ocean dead zones, acidification … and the demise of 90 percent of the big fish and 50 percent reduction in coral reefs,” says co-leader Rachelle Jensen, citing estimates from other studies. “So it’s important for people to understand why we should all care about the oceans and understand what a critical role the oceans play in supporting habitable life on the planet.”
The Globe and Mail – ‘DIY Science: Researchers Look to Sailors for Ocean Data’
The team is developing simple observations and tests that recreational sailors and boaters can undertake on the high seas in the name of knowledge.
“The amount of funding that is allocated by various international governments is always somewhat inadequate, given what oceanographers would like to do,” said Jay Cullen, of the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria.
Meet the Team
We are a world wide community of oceanographers, researchers, volunteers and sailors from countries — including Australia, United States, Italy, Denmark, Mauritius, South Africa and Canada — dedicated to the study of ocean health. We seek to revolutionalise out-dated and expensive oceanography methodologies and bring forth a new citizen-based cooperative that allows us to better understand the health of the worlds oceans.