Citizen Science in Taylor County Marine Programs
Citizen science is the involvement of the public in scientific research – whether community-driven research or global investigations. Hundreds of people around the US and Florida contribute with universities and Federal and State agencies every year, gathering data on a scale once unimaginable.
Scientists use these data to assess biodiversity, habitat loss, pollution, diseases, and climate change, among other topics. Citizen Science volunteers help document long-term changes in environmental and ecological variables, supporting conservation plans.
Scientific American publish a wide variety of citizen science programs all over the US while Sea Grant publish citizen science program delivered by their staff and faculty in their key topics: fisheries, climate change, aquaculture, water quality, among others.
Taylor County Extension, through the Sea Grant and Marine Extension Agent, is making possible the implementation of 3 Citizen Science projects with the support of local volunteer: 1) Water Watch, a State wide program for water quality monitoring; 2) Horseshoe crab monitoring, of the program develop by FWC with the support of the UF/IFAS Nature Coast Biological Station; and 3) Florida Microplastic Awareness Project, a State wide program implemented by Florida Sea Grant.
Other Marine Extension Programs related to Citizen Science in Taylor County include: Artificial Reefs and Recreational fisheries. In both programs there is always the need of volunteers willing to support different logistic and or data collection activities. This year there was implemented the Scallop Season Monitoring project, where local residents in Steinhatchee collected data in the boat ramps that are now helping FWC evaluate new management measures for this resource for next year season.
How can I get involved?
If you enjoy being outdoors, consider harnessing your passion for conservation. Whether that be collecting water samples, monitoring horseshoe crabs , or evaluating microplastic content in water, anywhere through Taylor County Extension. You’ll be most welcome in our extension community!