The Sealife Tracker project is 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 the University of Bristol. These organisations have joined forces to help study the climate change indicator species and some of the UK’s most problematic invasive, non-native marine species.
What is the Sealife tracker project trying to achieve?
The main aims are 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 with your help we hope to build a much more accurate picture of what is happening in our seas. The project will also be providing raw data to those that need it most in (almost) real time.
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 has 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 are verifiable since they are comprised of a photograph along with other relevant metadata. Records are also accurately geo-located since the app utilises the phone’s inbuilt GPS capabilities, often resolving the location to a matter of metres.
Another benefit of the app is that we have built photographic ID guides into it for you, so that you'll be able to more easily identify the target species even if you're not familiar with them to begin with
What happens to the records?
Data collected by the Sealife tracker app is being stored in the “Indicia” data warehouse, hosted by the Biological Records Centre on behalf of the volunteer recording community in Great Britain. Indicia provides a facility for verifying observations submitted through the App and ensures that data is made available to the national recording scheme for marine life. You can find out more about Indicia here