Earth is facing a global biodiversity and climate crisis, and now more than ever we need to monitor marine megafauna. Marine megafauna species are indicators of ecosystem health. If we have healthy wildlife in our oceans, we will be healthy!
The Observers App is a citizen science pocket conservation tool that enables members of the public to record marine wildlife, including cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), pinnipeds (seals), elasmobranchs (sharks), fishes, and seabirds. Traditionally, citizen science programs have focused just on recording one taxon, but all marine megafauna species are important to monitor. The Observers App also serves as a free educational tool, allowing you to become familiar with different species which may be found in the ocean within the EU.
Use the Species ID cards and learn how to identify different species that may be observed swimming at sea, or stranded/beached on the shoreline. Every record is so important to allow us to track changes in species abundance, distribution, and ultimately population dynamics. Long-term citizen science with the Observers App has allowed marine conservation NGOs which use the app, to determine "hot spots" of whales off the south coast of Ireland, which has provided the opportunity to deploy hydrophones in areas where whales and shipping co-exist, to help better understand the impact of noise pollution on cetacean communication and the impact of disturbance to cetaceans vital behaviors.
You can also learn about the different sounds whales make underwater by checking out the Listening Room feature in the Observers App. Use the Observers App tool-kit to determine your exact location, record wildlife sounds, or to use the camera and photograph what you have seen.
The Observers App aims to promote the use of mobile technology to provide citizen science recordings of marine megafauna (whales, dolphins, seals, sharks, fishes, and seabirds). Marine biologists can use this open-source data to map marine wildlife and to determine trends in species distributions and abundance, determining "hot spots" of endangered and threatened marine species and monitoring changes in population trends.
How to participate
Download the Observers App for Android and iPhone, and learn about the different species you may encounter. Take a photo of the animal(s) you encounter, fill in a 2 minute report and upload your images to add it to the database.
All you need are your eyes, phone and to be by the ocean!
If you do wish to use extra equipment we recommend that you use binoculars and a camera.
Europe, Ireland, and the U.K.