Scuba app turns users into citizen scientists

Credit: Cecil Walker

Scuba divers explore vast underwater ecosystems and encounter all kinds of interesting things on their trips. Two Parisian divers, Alexander Casassovici and Pascal Manchon, wanted to create a database where other scuba fans could share photos, advice, etc. from their outings, so they rolled out Diveboard. It's a social networking app for scuba divers that operates on both iOS and Android platforms. 

Diveboard began in 2011 as a simple interactive logbook for these adventurous folks, but it has quickly developed into something quite unexpected. Casassovici and Manchon rely on existing scientific databases to help users ID the diverse marine species they encounter on their dives. However, all of that information divers share on Diveboard is now helping scientists keep their information up-to-date. Casassovici says:

It turned out that scientists are already conducting on-site surveys and maintaining a colossal amount of occurrence data (data compiled as to the geographical place where an event occurred) on dedicated scientific networks.

However, it also turned out that this data is far from fresh, given that surveys happen at most every ten years. And yet the biotope is evolving at a strikingly fast pace – one of the best examples being the invasion of lionfish in the Caribbean.

So these divers are using Diveboard's 'species picker' to say, "hey, I saw lionfish in this location," which is then regualarly shared with scientists who monitor and study underwater life. Hooray for citizen science!

Diveboard, via The Next Web

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