Citizen Science is often the tether that ties researchers and the general public along a common nerdy path. Memebers of ATMEC have, over the years, participated in and spearheaded their own successful citizen science projects throughout the Indo-Pacific. We are proud to be continuing that tradition by incoporating a strong community outreach and educational component in our research by working alongside folks interested in taking another step towards marine biology. Below are some of our main citizen science projects that you can get involved in! To find out more about what Citizen Science is, check out this article here! Want to participate, get in touch with us either by contacting us or messaging us on Facebook!
Tao Talay Aow Thai - เต่าทะเลอ่าวไทย (TTAT) is the latest iteration of the sea turtle project which aims to document and monitor sea turtle populations throughout the Gulf of Thailand. The project began in early 2015 at Koh Tao, and has since amassed over 1200 observations of over 150 turtles across 10 years and 5 provinces. Observations and identifications typically require clear photo or video evidence of a turtle’s head, the patterns of which can be used to identify individuals. In addition, information regarding date and location of sighting are crucial. While certain areas are well represented, sea turtles from other regions (i.e. Chanthaburi, Chumphon, Trat etc) remain largely unknown. Despite its history, TTAT (and its sibling Koh Tao Turtles) are entirely voluntarily run and thus, data collection in most areas remain in their infancy. The primary means of data collection are through Facebook and email submissions, with some use of Instagram and other similar portals. To learn more about citizen science, sea tutle biology and conservation at Rayong, check out our People and the Sea course!
The Facebook page ‘Sea Slug Thailand’ was created and is administered by a group of enthusiastic divers from various backgrounds and remains one of the most popular marine wildlife pages from Thailand. Divers and snorkellers throughout the country submit photos of these charismatic critters and thus contribute to one of the fastest growing biodiversity databases in Thailand. In collaboration with ATMEC, Sea Slug Thailand has begun the process of cataloguing and analysing the diversity and distribution of these remarkable marine animals in Thailand. The collaboration aims to provide insights into ecosystem variability across Thai waters and has curated over 5000 observations. This includes dozens of previously undescribed species requiring further investigation, pushing the boundaries of marine biology discovery in the region. To learn more about sea slug biology and ecology around the waters of Thailand, sign up for our Benthic Ecology course!
Project Seahorse is a remarkable organisation that aims to facilitate conservation and research on seahorse populations around the world. The ATMEC team are proud to be continuing the positive and productive relationship with Project Seahorse that was setup in the Gulf of Thailand with Conservation Diver, by collecting and providing data to their citizen science portal iSeahorse.org. Via our own research efforts and through teaching the seahorse monitoring course by Conservation Diver, we have already found a thriving seahorse population around the waters of the Mun Nai Archipelago. We also encourage the public regardless of background, to please submit photo records of wild seahorses to the project. For those keen on learning more about seahorse biology and monitoring around Rayong, contact us to book a place on our course or check out our more comprehensive Benthic Ecology course!
MARsCI - Marine science Citizens Initaitve aims to act as a bridge between the marine recreational community and academics in Thailand. The project's premise is a simple one: to take on the challenge of encouraging marine enthusiasts, whether they are divers, hobbyists, boat staff or fisherfolk, to particpate in sharing information and observations on the marine environment and wildlife. We aim to provide a portal for amateurs, scientists and NGOs working on research and conservation of specific wildlife groups in Thailand to be able to acquire observations with ease. This project is very much in its infancy and will likely develop slowly over the years to come, however it has a name and a face and for now that's enough. While ATMEC strongly encourages contributing to international portals such as inaturalist.org, we recognise that a proactive and bilingual social media platform appears to be far more effective in gathering support and data than a passive, opt-in approach. What kinds of observations are we looking for? Anything! We ensure that observations, where possible, make it to the relevant groups of academics that can use the observation to pursue conservation and a deeper understanding of marine life. Recent observations include coral spawning, sea slugs (which end up at Sea Slug Thailand), strange anemones and more.