The Sealife Tracker project was a collaboration between the The Environment Agency, the Marine Biological Association, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, the British Sub-Aqua Club and Natural Apptitude These organisations joined forces to help study marine climate change indicator species and some of the UK’s most problematic invasive, non-native species.
What did the Sealife tracker project set out to achieve?
The main aims of the project were to raise awareness of non-native species and to crowd-source data on a number of high priority climate change indicator and invasive species. There is currently a lack of information on many marine species and data from the project helped to create a more accurate picture of what is happening in our seas.
Why an App?
Obtaining accurate data about the distribution and abundance of species is of paramount importance when it comes to assessing the state of the environment. But data provision is often patchy and records are usually unverifiable and lacking accurate geographic reference.
The Sealife tracker project addressed these problems by combining the development of a smartphone application with the power of crowd-sourcing data collection, that's to say the app enables real data to be collected by interested members of the public in the field. Critically, the large majority of records collected were verifiable since they comprised a photograph along with other relevant metadata. Records were also accurately geo-located using the phone’s inbuilt GPS capabilities, often resolving the location to a matter of metres.
The app also functioned as a photographic ID guide.