Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Seafloor Explorer

Last week I got an email from Seafloor Explorer saying that they were 81% complete with just over 2 MILLION images analyzed via crowd sourcing after 18 months! And they said they have another batch ready to upload once this first set is finished. That's incredible!

I LOVE Seafloor Explorer.. it is my go to relaxation website. By now you might have guessed based on the name that is a website that lets you examine images from the seafloor. For the last several years, they have been using a camera pulled from a ship and taking about 6 images per second across the Northeast Atlantic. Since they can get thousands and thousands per run and they have been doing multiple runs a year, they end up drowning in image data. So they decided to try crowd sourcing, putting the images online for citizen scientists to examine. There is a tutorial and you learn to identify the ground cover (sand, shell, gravel, cobble, boulder) and how to label certain organisms (scallop, fish, crustacean, seastar).  Scallops and seastar are by far the most common organisms I see when I analyze. And a lot of the images have few to no organisms. 

Or sometimes they have a lot of organisms but they are all in one category like the two below.

But there are those pictures you come across that make you gasp and marvel like this beautiful ray!

Or this

So if you have some time and want to help map habitat type and species distribution across the Atlantic, check out Seafloor Explorer! I find it very relaxing and fun. Boo also enjoys curling up and helping me spot organisms, he gets bored if we run into a stretch of empty images but on the flip side gets incredibly excited when we find anything.

What do you think about crowd sourcing science like this? Have you ever tried these type of citizen projects? If not go check this one out and let me know how you like it!

Note: all images are copyright Seafloor Explorer


  1. I have never heard of this before. That's really cool and this pictures are gorgeous!

    1. It's such a fun site! Like going on a treasure hunt :)


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