seal resting marine debris

Through Beach Watch, dedicated volunteers in Greater Farallones and Monterey Bay national marine sanctuaries regularly survey assigned beaches. These volunteers collect data on birds and marine mammals, as well as human activities. Photo: Philip Barlow

Citizen Science

Citizen science volunteers work with scientists to identify research questions, collect and analyze data, interpret results, make new discoveries, develop technologies and applications, and solve complex problems. In 2015, 8,485 volunteers contributed to citizen science efforts throughout the National Marine Sanctuary System, dedicating more than 72,000 hours of their time.


volunteers removing debris from a beach

Volunteers at Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary participate in the Stellwagen Sanctuary Seabird Stewards program to help compare the relative abundance of seabirds over time. Photo: Evelyn Ganson/NOAA

volunteers removing fishing line from the beach and the water

The Sanctuary Ocean Count project offers the community of Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary the chance to monitor humpback whales and provide important information to the sanctuary. Photo: Paul Wong/NOAA

diver cleaning up debris

Volunteers participate in LiMPETS, an environmental monitoring and education program for students, educators and volunteer groups throughout California. Photo: NOA