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Citizens' observatory for coast and ocean optical monitoring
Citizens' observatory for coast and ocean optical monitoring

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The new book on citizen science: status update and final opportunity to participate

As many of you know, we are editing the first book on modern citizen science. In parallel, several special issues on this domain are in preparation; the difference with the book is that we will be able to go more in depth in each issue and cover a larger scope, using as skeletal structure the full knowledge life-cycle management typical of citizen science initiatives. In this post, you will find a summary of this structure together with the affiliation of the excellent authors who showed their availability and enthusiasm to be part of this journey. Also, you will find highlighted the chapters in which we feel we still need some contribution. This is important, because if you feel you can contribute on these issue (or if you know somebody who could) there is still some, limited time to do it. Limited, because the book will be published at the end of April 2016 and we need time to organize the peer review of all the manuscripts. And in this task we have the support of other excellent people who are involved in a variety of roles. But, let's now see the content in preparation, and we hope to hear from you soon!

1. Ontology (definition of concepts and formal relations between citizen science and other sciences, including taxonomy of different dimensions of citizens' observatories): 1000001 Labs, Commons Lab | Wilson Center, Atlas of Living Australia, ICM-CSIC
2. Social context (including citizen-science adoption, social implications of ICT-facilitated citizen science for governance and decision making, social networking, engagement, community management, differences among international, national and local levels, citizens as the main actors of citizen-science projects and their willingness to engage in citizen science): Universidade de Lisboa
3. More than networking: how citizen-science associations contribute to the professionalization of citizen science globally: Museum für Naturkunde Berlin | ECSA, CSA, ACSA
4. Suitability of citizen science (descriptors/attributes and scenarios suitable to be studied with citizen science): Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
5. Interoperability (including standards context and data management): OGC
6. Information collection (including citizen-science platforms, internet of things, paradigmatic changes in the conceptualization of participation related to citizen science and data collection, guidelines for the sustained engagement of citizens in information collection) [contribution still possible]
7. Quality control (in-situ and cloud-based): UPC [contribution still possible]
8. Intellectual property rights [contribution still possible]
9. Citizens observatories as future learning environments: UOC, CSIC
10. Geographical information systems (their use in citizen science) [contribution still possible]
11. Information to knowledge (including data interpretation and integration): Deltares [contribution still possible]
12. Knowledge integration with context (integration of newly-generated knowledge with existing information context; citizens science as a complement to Earth observation and environmental monitoring systems): Deltares [contribution still possible]
13. Artificial intelligence (including recommendation, recognition and reputation in citizen science): 1000001 Labs [contribution still possible]
14. Adaptive knowledge-delivery
a. Introduction to adaptive knowledge-delivery [contribution still possible]
b. Knowledge delivery to decision makers (including sustained engagement of decision makers in using delivered knowledge) [contribution still possible]
c. Knowledge delivery to citizens (including sustained engagement of citizens in using delivered knowledge): Trinity College Dublin [contribution still possible]
d. Knowledge delivery to researchers (including sustained engagement of researchers in using delivered knowledge) [contribution still possible]
a. The role of citizen science in sustainable development (including case studies of citizen-science implementation, capacity development, impact evaluation methodologies and the contribution of citizen science in all of this): Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU)
b. The role of citizen science in education for sustainable development: a critical exploration: Cardiff University
16. Barriers and blind spots (including security, privacy, misuse in citizen science) [contribution still possible]
17. Can citizen science seriously contribute to policy development?: the decision maker’s view (including readiness of authorities in taking up citizen-science solutions, and fears and expectations of policy makers, changing authorities' perceptions over time): Welsh Government
18. Market exploitation (market exploitation of citizen-science solutions) [contribution still possible]

Important Dates
March 10th, 2016: Full Chapter Submission
March 30th, 2016: Review Results Returned
April 10th, 2016: Final Chapter-Submission
April 30th, 2016: Book release

Inquiries and submissions can be sent electronically (Microsoft Office Word Document (.doc or .docx) or OpenDocument (.odt)) to:
Dr. Luigi Ceccaroni
1000001 Labs
C. Alzina, 52, Barcelona 08024, Spain
Tel.: +34 931 930 661

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The EU funded project Citclops (Citizens´ observatories for coast and ocean optical monitoring provides affordable measurement tools for mobile devices (e.g. smartphones), which can be used by the general public. Water colour, for example, can be measured from simple images of the water surface, taken with smartphones or other cameras. 

Water colour is related to light availability and biomass in water, and hence has also a topical relation to the Ocean Sampling Day (OSD). Both projects involve the general public and foster environmental knowledge and stewardship. Our vision is to join efforts on this year´s OSD and we ask you for images of water colour at your OSD sampling site on June 21st. 

There are three possibilities to take images of water colour for Citclops:

1) Use the Citclops colour app (freely available for iOS & Android at []):
--> the app provides also the possibility to include Secchi depth and the Forel-Ule number with the corresponding water colour comparator scale;
--> images and corresponding metadata are uploaded automatically to our server & website []; they undergo quality control (QC) and standardization for long-term storage.

2) Take images with whichever camera type:
--> take an image of the water colour; note latitude, longitude and time (UTC); and send image and info to

3) Use the myOSD app []:
--> take an image of the water colour with the myOSD app; images and basic metadata will then be passed also to us and to our website.

Important! Instructions on how to take images: [].

The Citclops water colour determination is based on the comparison of the colour of the water to a 21-colour comparator scale (Forel Ule) displayed on the screen of the smartphone. The user takes a picture of the water surface, with the sun on her back if it’s a clear day, then crops a part of the image. The scale is then displayed on the screen and the user can compare the colours on the scale to the colour of the water, either by looking at the picture just taken or by looking at the water surface directly. Then, a questionnaire on the weather conditions needs to be filled in.

If the user has a Secchi disk, then she is asked to introduce the Secchi depth, an indicator of water transparency, and to compare the colours of the Forel Ule scale to the colour of the water observed on top of the Secchi disk (at ½ the Secchi depth).

- there is sufficient ambient light (so, no dusk/dawn conditions);
- it is not raining at the time of measurements;
- the bottom is not visible.

- have the sun at your back (= take photo in shade if possible, to prevent direct reflection from the sun on the water surface);
- keep smartphone or other camera at a flat angle (0-30°) to minimise sky reflections on the water surface.

Of course, do not hesitate to contact Julia in case of questions!

Cordial thanks to the OSD & MyOSD team for the support and for providing the opportunity to have Citclops@OSD!

Thank you for considering a contribution to water colour measurements!

In any case: Have a happy OSD!

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We would like you to participate in a book on citizen science. A book we’re editing with great care to be a strong reference for researchers in the field.

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Citclops @ the second International Ocean Research conference  (IORC 2014)

Luigi Ceccaroni talks about participatory science to understand the ecological status of surface marine waters at the second International Ocean Research conference  (One Planet One Ocean) taking place in Barcelona, at the CCIB – Barcelona International Convention Centre, on November 16th and 18th, 2014.

As with terrestrial life, plankton is a complex “ecosystem” consisting of forms of life very different from each other; and it is the base ring of the food chain for all marine species. It is due to phytoplankton (and in particular the diatoms) that there is plenty of oxygen on Earth: one-third of all the oxygen produced comes from the oceans, through the action of these tiny algae. Only two-thirds of the oxygen comes from the forests. The same thing applies to the absorption of carbon dioxide: a third of the CO2 is absorbed by the phytoplankton, through photosynthesis. The ocean, that is, behaves exactly like a forest: in its surface layer there are “prairies” and “woods”, which absorb carbon dioxide and emit large amounts of oxygen. This production is not homogeneous: so as on earth there are green areas and desert areas, also in the seas there are areas with varying degrees of plankton.

It is important to note that the carbon of the air absorbed by plankton ends up almost all on the sea floor. Through the food chain, in fact, (or even through the incorporation in the tiny shells of diatoms) carbon moves from one life form to another, from the smallest fish to larger and larger predators, until, with their deaths, falls to the bottom. It is then easy to see how necessary it is that this mechanism continues to function, and that the plankton is not threatened by marine pollution. Plankton, algal biomass and chlorophyll are indeed proxies of the ecological status of surface marine waters and are related to indicators, such as the transparency and color of the water, which can be measured directly also by citizens and skippers, in different contexts, thanks to the Citclops project and the Barcelona World Race.

In-situ transparency measures of sea waters are based on observations by the Secchi disk (SD), the KdUINO buoy and other novel, low-cost instruments; while in-situ color measurements are based on the Forel-Ule (FU) scale, which is used to determine the color of water bodies, in limnology and oceanography. Information on color is then collected by the Citclops – Citizen water monitoring app and other low-cost sensors, and will be integrated in the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).

Measuring simple indicators, such as transparency and color, contributes to determine the ecological status of surface marine waters. These indicators are related to chlorophyll, algal biomass and organic compounds. To determine the ecological status of surface waters, the quantification of the presence of pollutants, such as accumulations of plastic debris, is also necessary. Currently, transparency and color measures are based on optical imaging, the Secchi-disk depth and the Forel-Ule (FU) scale. Measures of accumulations of plastic debris are based on analysis of images of the sea surface.

To improve the assessment of the ecological status of water bodies, the Citclops (Citizens’ Observatory for Coast and Ocean Optical Monitoring) European action (2012-2015) has developed a mobile application that allows citizens to contribute to measuring water bodies’ optical properties via participatory science.

This event, the One Planet One Ocean Conference (IORC), is an opportunity for the scientific community to come together to plan the coming decade of international collaboration in marine science and technology, with a view to improving ocean governance. The inaugural IORC was held in June 2005, when the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO) with The Oceanography Society (TOS), brought attendees together to discuss expected developments in marine sciences in the decade that followed.

Full list of presentations and poster:

Luigi Ceccaroni (Citclops), Laia Subirats (BDigital), Marcel Wernand (NIOZ), Stéfani Novoa (NIOZ), Jaume Piera (ICM-CSIC), Roger Farrés (Kinetical), Ivan Price (Noveltis) and the Citclops consortium. Participatory science to understand the ecological status of surface marine waters. Abstract @ Workshop 5 (WS5) Global reporting of assessments of the status of marine environments, November 16, 2014; and abstract @ Theme Session T2.TS5 Operationalizing Ecosystem-based Management: the challenges of translating scientific knowledge into decision tools for integrated management, November 18, 2014.

Jaume Piera, Raul Bardají, Carine Simon, Luigi Ceccaroni and the Citclops Consortium. Citizen science and do it yourself technologies: a new way to observe coastal environments. Abstract @ Workshop 8 (WS8) Promoting communication within the early career marine scientists, November 16, 2014.

Luigi Ceccaroni, Marcel Wernand, Laia Subirats, Jaume Piera, Roger Farrés, Ivan Price, Alexander Steblin and the Citclops Consortium. Extending historic water-quality data sets, using old-fashioned techniques, citizen science and smartphones. Poster, November 17 and 19, 2014.

Citclops gets the Best Poster Award at the Ocean Optics Conference:

Raul Bardají, Carine Simon, Eloy Zafra, Jaume Piera

Institute of Marine Sciences, Spanish National Research Council (ICM-CSIC) 

"A spatio-temporal analysis with KdUINO data, a DIY citizen science instrument"
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