Who We Are

eOceans unites the global network of ocean explorers to create the world’s most versatile marine database to be used for science and policy. We amplify our collective experiences. For the Oceans. For Us.

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Citizen Science

Citizen science is a broad topic.

Wikipedia defines it as “scientific research conducted, in whole or in part, by amateur (or nonprofessional) scientists.”

The role of the general public can be simple, such as deploying gear for scientists, or a one-time response to a series of questions (a survey).

The role can also be very involved, such as in the collection, entry and validation of field data that are used by the scientist.

We have deployed both techniques.

Our past work has included comprehensive research devoted to understanding the value and limitations of using recreational scuba divers observations to describe spatial and temporal patterns of sharks and rays.

Since then, we’ve run numerous local, regional and global censuses.

We’ve used and deployed event-based surveys (e.g., where every dive is recorded) to describe:

  • the absence of reef sharks throughout the Caribbean
  • the decline of yellow stingrays throughout the Caribbean
  • patterns of coastal sharks throughout Thailand

We’ve also conducted one-off surveys to describe:

  • the value and limitations of diver contributed data
  • the biases associated with scientific divers' observations for mobile fish
  • the population status and threats of global manta ray populations
  • Shark Sanctuaries as a conservation strategy

These results have influenced policy and management, including:

Sharks and Rays

Sharks, rays, skates and sawfish are fish, but differ in many ways to bony fish.

Together, they are called Elasmobranchs.

When considering the role of sharks, it is important to remember that they are extremely diverse.

Some can fit in the palm of your hand, like the Dwarf Lanternshark, while others like the Whale Shark can reach the size of a bus. Some eat big mammals, like seals, and others eat microscopic zooplankton. Some have very small home ranges and move only a few kilometres, while others transit entire oceans.

Therefore, it is impossible to make blanket statements about their value. However, studies have shown that sharks:

  • keep populations of smaller species in check
  • remove weak or sick individuals
  • shift prey habitat
  • balance ecosystems

Sharks are also important for humans for food, tourism, and intrinsic value.

To date, eOceans' research has engaged professional researchers and citizen scientists to document shark and ray populations – describing contemporary baselines, identifying risks, and understanding conservation needs.

Findings have included:

Note: The paper investigating inverted biomass pyramids, above, is often mis-cited. It is not a recounting issue, but rather that mobile fish are more likely to enter a transect than stationary fish. Faster = more likely to enter and therefore more bias of faster fish (top of the ecosystem). If you want to discuss this, please contact christine@eoceans.co

Christine Ward-Paige, eOceans founder and CEO, has also led the citizen science guidebook section in:

Policy outcomes resulting from the above work include:

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Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are spectacularly important living structures.

They:

  • protect coastal communities from powerful storm surges
  • protect vulnerable coastlines from erosion
  • are home to a variety of animals, from seahorses to sharks
  • provide important refuge for many species
  • supply food for species in other ecosystems (including to humans)
  • offer valuable economic services to humans, such as for recreation
  • supply invaluable benefits, like carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling

Despite their value, coral reefs only cover less than 1% of the worlds oceans (explore maps here).

Coral reefs are fragile and gravely threatened. Many coral reefs have suffered more than 90% coral death in the last couple decades, with very high death rates in the last year (2017).

Threats to corals include:

This Netflix film, Chasing Coral, nicely documents the impact of climate change causing coral bleaching & death.

eOceans' research efforts have discovered that:

Tools used for this work include: 

  • field assessments
  • isotope chemistry
  • mapping
  • computer simulations
  • meta-analysis
  • statistics
  • historic video footage