These are projects in the local Miami area.  The Key Biscayne project is community based, specific to Key Biscayne and surrounding environment, while the Plankton Portal project uses scientific imagery that harnesses the power of crowd sourcing to identify unique plankton organisms that would normally take scientists much longer to identify with a smaller group.

The Key Biscayne project has scientific guidance from Drs. Andrew Baker and Diego Lirman.  The Plankton Portal Project is managed by Dr. Robert Cowen (now at Oregon State University) and his team at the Rosenstiel School (RSMAS) at the University of Miami.

Both of these projects offer unique perspectives on two very different types of citizen science.  The Key Biscayne project is driven more by the community and environmental awareness while, Plankton Portal addresses the need for many eyes to be able to identify plankton from a large number of scientific images that would otherwise not be efficient for only a small number of scientists to analyze.

A more direct, hands-on approach is taken by the UM-RSMAS Shark Research and Conservation Program.  Their work involves taking students and interested members on the public into the field to tag various species of sharks using traditional and satellite tagging.  This is done to understand where endangered and little know shark species  spend their time.  One goal is to use this data to better inform the creation, expansion and management of marine protected areas that would be beneficial protecting shark populations.


Key Biscayne’s Citizen Science Lab



Plankton Portal 



Wings of the Tropics Butterfly Conservatory Citizen Science Project

Faculty members in the Exploration Science program helped advise on the design of a new citizen science program at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden.  This is now implemented in the new Wings of the Tropics Butterfly Conservatory.

Fairchild Discovery Program

Shark Research and Conservation Program – Shark Tagging Program


The  Shark Research and Conservation Program has a citizen science component to their work that helps connect people with unique experiences helping researchers tag and document sharks.  From the RJ Dunlap website…

The Shark Research and Conservation Program is a joint initiative of the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science and Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy. The mission of SRC is to advance ocean conservation and scientific literacy by conducting cutting edge scientific research and providing innovative and meaningful outreach opportunities for students through exhilarating hands-on research and virtual learning experiences in marine biology. Opportunities are especially made available for students from land-locked communities and under-served populations in the sciences. Focusing primarily on the study and conservation of sharks, the Program’s full-immersion approach allows students to actively grow as future scientists.

Their citizen science work is described here.  From the SRC website…

Work side-by-side with world renowned shark biologist Dr. Neil Hammerschlag and his stellar team at the Shark Research and Conservation Program in tropical, turquoise waters to gather vital data for his ongoing shark research. Take a finclip from a 10+ foot tiger shark to test for toxins. Conduct physiological tests to determine a great hammerhead shark’s stress level. Insert an ID tag into an adorable, little Atlantic Sharpnose shark to learn more about its life movements and growth rate. This is your chance to literally get your feet wet — research, education, conservation, innovation.