Science is cool – you can play a part

Be a citizen scientist and make a difference to marine research

As a citizen scientist, you can contribute to our understanding of the marine environment of Turneffe Atoll in Belize while you enjoy your holiday.


What is Citizen Science?

Citizen science means getting the public to take part in scientific research. Scientists design the programmes, then volunteers like you help out by gathering data and improving our collective knowledge. Long-term monitoring of reefs and other habitats in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) can take up a lot of time and get expensive, which is why citizen science is so important. Being able to collect more data, faster, helps us come up with more enduring solutions for marine conservation.

When it comes to citizen science, the quality of the data collected is vital. That’s why methods are standardised, so no matter who collects the data, it’s compatible with our database. Citizen science data collection methods are designed to be accessible for everyone, even if you’ve never done any scientific work.

Citizen science gives you the opportunity to engage in vital conservation work. You’ll also learn more about the areas you’re exploring and the species that live there. The focus is on collecting high-quality data that will help us make better-informed management decisions for the MPA. The research is also fun to take part in!


How will I be helping scientific progress in the MPA?

To manage and conserve our marine parks for future generations, we need high-quality data. With your help, we can collect more data more often. Your contribution to marine conservation will help us learn more about the ecosystems we need to protect.

Citizen science is an effective way to increase the scale of a project with a lower cost than conventional research, meaning that we can learn more for less. In fact, without citizen scientists, some of the data needed might never be collected due to time and budget constraints.

We’re excited that citizen scientist participants will leave with a better understanding of why we want to protect our marine ecosystems and become ambassadors for reef conservation once they get home. All in all, it’s a great way to give-back to your holiday destination.


What sort of projects can I get involved in?

Our experts let us know about gaps in research where we could use your help as a citizen scientist. Often, you’ll be helping us to research one of our Iconic, Keystone, or Threatened species, or monitoring a specific habitat or location.

Research topics include understanding interactions between animals and habitats, their behaviour and population status.

Habitat-focused projects can include monitoring coral reefs and their associated fish species, examining how corals recruit, investigating crocodiles, identifying birds, locating turtle nests and tracking dolphins and manatees. It all depends on what’s most needed.


Active citizen science projects

Coral colonisation on The Wit

The wreck of The Wit offers the perfect opportunity to study how fast corals colonise new environments and how fast they grow – but we need your help to gather the data.
We need you!

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