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Old 03-02-2013, 08:22 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Secchi App - Citizen Science for Sailors

Well, I'm new to the forum - hello - and I'm here to promote a Citizen Science project about the marine plankton that wants to involve seafarers.

It's conducted by a free smartphone app called Secchi in conjunction with a simple to make Secchi Disk, and its home website is Secchi Disk

Please tell me if it is inappropriate to reach seafarers through fora in this way.

So, by way of some background.

Two years ago a paper in the science magazine Nature reported that the global phytoplankton population had declined by 40% since the 1950s.

Phytoplankton primary production governs marine productivity at all levels above in the marine food chain. The phytoplankton also create 50% of the oxygen in the air we breathe, and, by drawing down carbon dioxide, they influence the climate. Chemicals released by some phytoplankton when they die also help create the clouds in the sky and the smell of the sea. Changes in phytoplankton abundance therefore influence the global ecology.

The report of a global decline in phytoplankton abundance provoked controversy among marine scientists, some of whom thought abundance had actually increased. Part of the controversy stems from poor data coverage of the oceans - there aren't that many scientists collecting data - and while we now have satellite imagery such as SeaWifs - in-situ data is invaluable.

In contrast to a few scientists, there are a lot of seafarers and hence the Citizen Science project.

Please take a look at the website. I'd be interested to hear your views.

So far the response from sailors who have seen the media coverage has been very positive. Within two days of the project's launch on the 21st February we received data from New Zealand and the Mediterranean Sea.

There is a media report here BBC News - Seafarer science: Sailors asked to help measure plankton

I am posting on this forum to raise awareness of the project and encourage you to participate.

Fingers crossed.

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Old 03-02-2013, 11:22 AM   #2
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Though I can't speak for any other cruising forum, I think this is a great idea, and I can't imagine that any forum would object to your posting on this subject. You might want to also send information to the cruising magazines out there - Cruising World, Sail, Latitude38 (their sponsored Pacific Puddle Jump starts very soon, so try to get them excited about it right now - a lot of sailors get frequent email updates via the 'Lectronic Latitude). They will want to know something more about you - they promote the sailors as well as their interests and causes. And that leads in to us - we'd love to hear more about you and your involvement with this study.

I wonder, though, how useful an iPad or Android app will be when the boat is on a passage hundreds of miles from any wifi source. Does this app save all the readings as the boat makes its leisurely progress to French Polynesia, for example?

Oops! I found the answer on the Secchi site: "You don’t need a network connection to use Secchi. Secchi stores all the data until you get a mobile signal when it will ask you if you want to submit your data now, or wait until later."

In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

MV WATERMELON (New) | Cruiser's Dictionary, free ebook

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Old 03-02-2013, 11:31 AM   #3
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Hi Jeanne P

You found the answer. The app stores the reading.

You should always be able to get a GPS signal.

Please help spread the word. I will follow up your suggestions. Thanks

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Old 09-16-2013, 06:36 PM   #4
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I just thought I would visit and show you how the Secchi Disk project is going.

You can find a global map of data submitted by sailors at the following link. Zoom in, click on a flag


If you would like to join the study you can find out more at Secchi Disk

Thank you to all taking part.

If you would like to know more you can contact us at contact@secchidisk.org

Or say hello at http://www.facebook.com/secchidisk or follow us on twitter https://twitter.com/SecchiApp

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Old 12-23-2013, 09:18 PM   #5
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Default Season's Greetings from the Plankton

I am just returning to wish you all Season's Greetings and bring you some news about the Seafarer Secchi Disk Plankton project Secchi Disk in terms of "Sailors' Data"

You can see the spread of data from the data button on the project website or at the following link, and if you zoom in and click on a balloon you will see the measurement submitted: Home

We (the Secchi App team) would like to thank everyone taking part in coastal and opean ocean waters or those helping to spread word of the Secchi Disk project by talking about it. We are very pleased with progress after the first 10 months. Please continue to take part if you are doing so, or spread word.

We are especially pleased that the project has been recommended/adopted by the Seven Seas Cruising Association, the Cruising Club of America, the Blue Water Cruising Association and the Ocean Cruising Club. Participants in Jimmy Cornell's Blue Planet and Atlantic Odysseys are also taking part. Marine Science organisations have also adopted the Secchi app and so, with a fair wind and your help, the project will grow over the years into a valuable resource for future generations and scientific study. Again, Thank you.

In the meantime, Season's Greetings from the Plankton.
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biology, ecology, environmentally friendly, plankton, science

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