The best thing about a marine mammal sighting is telling someone about it! Now, your thrilling experience can help these wonderful creatures by contributing to conservation research.
During November 2020 the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) (part of the U.S. Department of Interior) announced the release of Ocean Alert, a new mobile data collection app for marine megafauna sightings.
Collected data will help BOEM plan offshore energy and mineral development in ways that lessen the potential impacts to species such as sea turtles, sharks and whales and their habitats. BOEM developed the app in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as an expansion of NOAA’s Whale Alert app.
Citizens can use Ocean Alert to upload images, sightings and other species information to the app, which seamlessly stores the data for resource managers. The free app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Ocean Alert is part of BOEM’s larger effort to harness citizen science – data voluntarily collected by the public and shared with scientists – for various research projects. For the past decade, the BOEM has drawn on the expertise of researchers and citizen scientists to fill knowledge gaps about the oceans and the species and habitats within them.
This data helps the BOEM plan offshore energy and mineral development (such as OceanBased Perpetual Energy) in ways that lessen the potential impacts to species and habitats. Learn more about BOEM and citizen science.
BOEM’s environmental program develops, funds and manages rigorous scientific research to inform policy decisions on offshore energy and mineral resources on the Outer Continental Shelf. For the past decade, the BOEM has been harnessing citizen science to help with its decision-making efforts.
Federal agencies have successfully used citizen science and crowdsourcing for more than a century. Congress passed the Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science Act of 2016 to encourage and increase the use of crowdsourcing and citizen science methods within the federal government. The law is intended to advance and accelerate scientific research, literacy and diplomacy and other purposes.
Citizenscience.gov is the official website designed to accelerate the use of crowdsourcing and citizen science across the U.S. government. The BOEM is a member.
Learn more about the numerous research projects that incorporate citizen science here.