One of the projects I’ve been working on recently is getting a citizen-science project involving Syngnathid fishes up and running. What is citizen-science, you ask? It is a way in which scientists collect data using volunteers outside of the science community. These volunteers can be anyone who is interested in science–children, families, fishermen, school teachers and classes, ANYONE!
My project is called “Pipefish World” and has a very basic premise: provide information and updates about seahorses and pipefish research to anyone interested in it, and to have people visiting the coast look for Syngnathids and send me their photographs. We have limited information about the distribution of these fish, and simply collecting photographs from people (preferably along with location information) can provide an incredible amount of useful data for us!
Here is the website, embedded in my lab website: http://www.bio.tamu.edu/USERS/ajones/Pipefish/Pipefish.html
Right now, we’re targeting the Gulf of Mexico (because that’s where we work so have access to), but if you see Syngnathids anywhere in the world I would love to hear from you! Please share this project with your friends & family, and if you see any pipefish or seahorses–take a picture and send it to me!