This way of gathering knowledge seems to be the “older sister” of academic science. From at least the 18th century, many nature enthusiasts, not having a university background, collected very important collections of information about the environment. Bird migrations were observed, star catalogues were created, and bottles with letters were used to study ocean currents. This group included Gregor Mendel, Alexander von Humboldt, and Charles Darwin. Some of them, thanks to their achievements, reached the highest positions in academic sciences. Later, the activities of enthusiasts were overshadowed by scientific institutions.
It was only in the mid-twentieth century that the potential of Citizen Science began to be recognised and fully exploited, and over the last two decades the respect for this type of activity has grown significantly. Today, science enthusiasts discover comets, track bird migrations, monitor invasions of alien species and the effectiveness of reintroduction, and even look for alien civilisations. You can try too!
The Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Sopot has been conducting citizen science projects for several years.
Volunteers, using an established method, search for plastic particles in the sand in river banks and beaches of the Baltic Sea. There is no need to explain to you how big a threat plastics pose to nature. Monitoring their occurrence allows us to create solutions aimed at reducing this problem.
We invite you to participate in these actions.
The Waterfront Research worksheet, which you can download, contains all the relevant information.
Photo of a volunteer
Another of our projects is entitled Is Fucus Returned? As part of this project, we collect information from anyone who wants to report finding pieces of this algae on beaches. We suspect that after several decades, when the presence of bladder wrack in the Baltic Sea was limited to the western part of this sea, it is beginning to recolonise Polish waters. Perhaps also the Gulf of Gdańsk. Its presence on the beaches may be a proof of this and an indication of where our divers should look for seaweed meadows. Participation in this study is simple, because it is enough to photograph the seaweed found on the beach and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org along with information about the number of seaweed, the place of the find, and the date.
Research results from the Citizen Science projects are presented both on a dedicated website and used for scientific publications, with thanks to volunteers whose data we do not disclose anywhere.
Photo of a volunteer
We support the idea of citizen science by presenting you some interesting projects: