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Expanding Aquatic Observations Through Recreation
Frontiers in Marine Science
  • Robert J. W. Brewin, Plymouth Marine Laboratory - United Kingdom
  • Kieran Hyder, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science - United Kingdom
  • Andreas J. Andersson, University of California - San Diego
  • Oliver Billson, University of Plymouth - United Kingdom; University of Liverpool - United Kingdom
  • Philip J. Bresnahan, University of California - San Diego
  • Thomas G. Brewin, Chatham and Clarendon Grammar School - Ramsgate, United Kingdom
  • Tyler Cyronak, University of California - San Diego
  • Giorgio Dall'Olmo, Plymouth Marine Laboratory - United Kingdom
  • Lee de Mora, Plymouth Marine Laboratory - United Kingdom
  • George Graham, Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science - United Kingdom
  • Thomas Jackson, Plymouth Marine Laboratory - United Kingdom
  • Dionysios E. Raitsos, Plymouth Marine Laboratory - United Kingdom
Document Type
Publication Date
  • Aquatic,
  • Observations,
  • Sampling,
  • Recreation,
  • Citizen science

Accurate observations of the Earth system are required to understand how our planet is changing and to help manage its resources. The aquatic environment—including lakes, rivers, wetlands, estuaries, coastal and open oceans—is a fundamental component of the Earth system controlling key physical, biological, and chemical processes that allow life to flourish. Yet, this environment is critically undersampled in both time and space. New and cost-effective sampling solutions are urgently needed. Here, we highlight the potential to improve aquatic sampling by tapping into recreation. We draw attention to the vast number of participants that engage in aquatic recreational activities and argue, based on current technological developments and recent research, that the time is right to employ recreational citizens to improve large-scale aquatic sampling efforts. We discuss the challenges that need to be addressed for this strategy to be successful (e.g., sensor integration, data quality, and citizen motivation), the steps needed to realize its potential, and additional societal benefits that arise when engaging citizens in scientific sampling.


Copyright © 2017 Brewin, Hyder, Andersson, Billson, Bresnahan, Brewin, Cyronak, Dall’Olmo, de Mora, Graham, Jackson and Raitsos. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

Additional Comments
Defra contract #s: MF1230, MI001
Citation Information
Robert J. W. Brewin, Kieran Hyder, Andreas J. Andersson, Oliver Billson, et al.. "Expanding Aquatic Observations Through Recreation" Frontiers in Marine Science Vol. 4 Iss. 351 (2017) p. 1 - 9 ISSN: 2296-7745
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