We are gearing up for another cruise! These data will augment our California Current (summer) dataset that you all have been diligently sorting for the last few weeks.
Yesterday PI Bob Cowen, post-doc Moritz Schmid, and graduate students Kelsey Swieca and Margaret Martinez began cruise mobilization by moving the plankton imager (In situ Ichthyoplankton Imaging System) from the lab to the marine center’s loading dock. It was a tight squeeze, but we made it! Today we will check all of the nuts and bolts on the imager then transport it to the ship staging area before beginning a 7 day shelter in place prior to cruise departure (a COVID precaution).
Keep an eye out for an at-sea blog post over the next few weeks.
“The archetypal approach of a single research group processing and analyzing large datasets in isolation is becoming increasingly infeasible — particularly given the need for the data to be promptly incorporated into ocean health assessments and marine ecosystem management. An effective, alternative approach is citizen science.”
This was a main finding of Robinson and colleagues’ recent paper examining how citizen scientists, including those from Plankton Portal, can help researchers chip away at their ‘big data’ processing goals. The authors of this article, including many of Plankton Portal‘s Science Team members, explain that with the advent of high resolution sampling technologies, it has become essential for biological oceanographers to develop innovative ways to process their data in a timely matter. One approach to this problem is citizen science.
Excitingly, this paper also found that Plankton Portal and its sister citizen science project, Kaggle, where data scientists competed to develop computer algorithms for automated image processing, are effective tools for engaging, educating, and promoting public engagement in plankton classification.
Citizen science has proven invaluable to Plankton Portal‘s Science Team. Check out our paper and be sure to read the Acknowledgements section were we give a special thanks to our most active volunteers. Thank you for your contributions and we look forward to continuing to work with you!