We teamed up with scientists at the Thriving Earth Exchange, to promote community engagement in marine citizen science to monitor an artificial reef off the coast of San Diego called the Yukon–data collection had actually been in progress since 2015 by scientific divers.
In 2000, the City of San Diego in collaboration with the San Diego Oceans Foundation (SDOF), purchased, cleaned and sank a 366 foot-long Canadian warship called the HMCS Yukon to create an artificial reef, a task at which has been spectacularly successful. Sitting at the bottom of the San Diego coast, the Yukon attracts dozens of local marine life species and is becoming a revenue-generating attraction for tourist divers from around the world.
When this project started, both the SDOF and the local scientific community were curious to understand the effects of an artificial reef on local fish populations and surrounding marine life. A joint study was undertaken by SDOF and Dr. Ed Parnell of Scripps Institution of Oceanography and released in 2004 [unpublished]. Crucial to the study was data gathered by local citizen science divers to generate a baseline of marine life species on the ship.
Our PI is Elizabeth Mayes, a marine scientist here in San Diego, who has assisted with protocol development and data analysis.
Data Collection Tools: High definition cameras used by trained citizen scientist divers
iNaturalist: a biodiversity research platform that uses artificial intelligence to identify organisms in uploaded photographs to the genus or species level. We use this platform to collect species abundance data for both the Tide Pool Project and the YMLS project. All data from iNaturalist is exported to GBIF—the Global Biodiversity Information Facility—an international network and data infrastructure funded by the world’s governments and aimed at providing anyone, anywhere, open access to data about all types of life on Earth, allowing scientists to access our data.
Survey results (2015-2020):