NSF GRIP NOAA Opportunity Position
Project title: Advancing citizen science in fisheries management- For NSF Fellows
Hypothesis or objectives: Sustainable fishery management relies on population assessments (stock assessments) and effective management measures. Data are typically collected by government agencies and academic partners via fishery-dependent catch monitoring and statistically-designed, fishery-independent surveys. However, data gaps remain largely because programs are expensive and time and labor intensive. Citizen science, where individuals or groups voluntarily contribute to one or more aspects of the scientific process is a potential data source that could be used to help address these data gaps. This project will explore how citizen science could benefit stock assessments and fisheries management. Some key questions to address will be: 1) “How can citizen science projects be designed to provide data that can be integrated into the existing fishery stock assessment process and will improve stock assessments and management?”; 2) Are there common characteristics or best practices among citizen science projects that have been successfully used in fisheries science and management and if so, what are they? The hope is that this project may help identify common themes and best practices to guide future use of citizen science in fisheries science and management.
Duration: 3 - 12 months
Area(s) of discipline: Biology, Earth Science, Ecology, Economics, Education, Environmental Health, Environmental Science Studies, Environmental Water Quality, Fisheries Science, Living Marine Resources, Marine And Aquatic Sciences, Mathematics, Natural Resource Management, Oceanography, Physical Sciences, Political Science And Government, Science Policy/Science And Society, Science Teacher Education, Social Sciences, Zoology
Internship location: Silver Spring, MD
Duties and responsibilities: 1. Conduct a background literature search to identify publications and examples of where citizen science was used to support fisheries science and management and create inventory of projects; 2) Identify and create list of common characteristics and best practices from projects where citizen science was successfully used to support fisheries science and management; 3) Conduct interviews with NOAA Fisheries scientists to assist with identification of best practices, common features, and describe case studies on the application of citizen science in a fisheries management context; 4) Develop a recommendations document that provides guidance for successfully creating citizen science projects that can be used in support of fisheries science and management.
Special skills/training required: 1. Ability to work independently; 2) Ability to write clearly and concisely; 3) Good analytic and critical thinking skills; 4) Responsive to emails and phone calls; 5) Good time management skills; 6) Ability to review, understand, and synthesize scientific literature. 7) Some knowledge of (fishery) data collection programs, protocols, and stock assessments
Expected outcomes: 1. Develop first formal set of recommendations and guidance on how citizen science can be successfully used in fisheries science and management based on a scientific approach; 2) Develop a unique understanding of the complexities, challenges, and opportunities associated with using citizen science in a fisheries management context; 3) Exposure to the scientific underpinnings of fisheries data collection and the stock assessment process as well as an opportunity to interact with a wide range of federal fishery scientists in statistics, stock assessment, social science, and citizen science.
Point of contact (Mentor): Laura Oremland
Organization: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
Program office: Office of Science and Technology
Mailing address: 1315 East-West Hwy
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Phone number: 301-427-8162
Fax number: None
Co-Mentor name: Laura Oremland, Abby Furnish
Co-Mentor email:,
Co-Mentor gency or organization: NMFS
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