About The Channel islands Naturalist Corps
Citizen science is a novel approach for collecting large data sets that might otherwise be unobtainable through traditional scientific methods. Channel Island National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) has been collecting opportunistic marine mammal sighting data through their volunteer Channel Islands Naturalist Corps (CINC) program since the late 1990s. In 2013 CINMS transitioned their data collection to two smartphone apps: Whale Alert, and Whale Spotter Pro. These apps have helped simplify and expand data collection, storage, and synthesis, and the data they collect has the potential to influence resource protection policy and strategies on a local, national and international level. However, before this data can serve as an evidence base for marine policy, a sustainable management protocol needed to be created. Our project has created a code application that cleans, standardizes, and stores this data into a queryable database.