Citizen science refers to the involvement of members of the general public in science, enabling participants to make a direct contribution to research. Such effort allows to expand opportunities for scientific data collection and to enable community members to deepen their knowledge about environmental issues. Typically, citizen science is promoted through collaborative projects with scientists and researchers.
Citizens can play a critical role to help the scientific community get valuable data to understand the marine sciences. There is much about the ocean that we still don’t know, and marine data is considered very scarce and expensive. With such vast ocean and extensive coastlines, citizen science is an important approach to generate meaningful scientific knowledge. Moreover, citizen science allows to increase overall awareness towards the marine environmental challenges.
Though citizen science is a relatively new concept, communities have been participating and contributing to research over the years. Scientific achievements have always captivated the attention and interest of the public and has served as well as an education tool for them. The most recent advances in technology have been making citizen science more accessible, and that is reflected in an increase of the number of citizen science-related programs. Every day, citizens become more aware about progress in diverse domains of science, demonstrating interest not only in following, but also in engaging science events. Even if oceans and water courses prove to be challenging environments for such activities, the interest upholds.
Among different initiatives and projects that aim to build a bridge between science and the public, MELOA is a project that is developing a family of WAVYs, surface drifters designed to collect marine data in coastlines and open ocean by citizens, scientists, companies, and others. The WAVY Test Campaigns aim at promoting the involvement of communities in the data collection, by involving them in practical observations. We will be preparing several campaigns, and soon be contacting scientists and the general public alike, to demonstrate, for instance, how the WAVY Littoral can help increase the safety at sea during the summer season, or to provide crucial answers to prominent questions in science.
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