Love all things ocean-related? Are you fairly savvy on which plants and animals you're looking at? Then citizen science is calling your name with a techy new strategy for conservation.
A new interactive website called Seafloor Explorer needs the public to help identify the marine life captured in the photos of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's HabCam. Popular Science notes that the goal of the HabCam's images is "to create high-resolution maps of animal habitats, including how animals are distributed relative to their predators. This can help with conservation efforts and basic science. Categorizing all of these images would take the team way too long, which is why they turned to the Zooniverse and its legions of volunteer citizen scientists."They have a few million photos they'd like to get help with, though they're starting out with just 100,000 in this new Zooniverse project.
The project needs to have humans properly identify objects like fish or scallops in seascapes, providing photos that accurately list what is contained and thus can be used to train object-classifying software so the process can be automated. Once the existing tools for automated classification is trained, the whole process will go a whole lot faster and the conservation goal of the HabCam will be much closer to being met. It's an amazing way technology is helping science move more quickly, and you can be part of it!
So, are you game to play, er, contribute? Check out Seafloor Explorer and try it out!