Citizen scientists sought for Coastwatch survey

Thu, Sep 20, 2012, 01:00

AN ECO-AUDIT of Ireland’s shoreline got under way this week with an appeal by Coastwatch co-ordinator Karin Dubsky for more people to get involved in “citizen science”.

The latest Coastwatch survey marks the 25th anniversary of the first such audit of the shoreline – both North and South – in autumn 1987, which was held in collaboration with The Irish Times.

The survey takes in land and shore use, inflow water quality and selected plants and animals. There is also a waste, pollution and litter section and surveyors’ views on threats to the coast are sought.  “This is citizen science which empowers people and is relevant locally and internationally to improve coastal zone management, highlight issues and implement the new EU marine directive,” Ms Dubsky said.

“You just need to download the questionnaire and guide notes,choose 500m of shore to survey, then methodically look at that shore around low tide – as though guests were coming to your house – from hinterland to shallow water and note down results.

“You then either send in results or key them in on the Coastwatch website to create your piece in a huge coastal snapshot. Indeed, photos and videos are also very welcome and you can follow us on Facebook.”

Ms Dubsky said new technology had made it much easier to do the survey, as everyone could not only download survey forms from the Coastwatch website, but feed back the results online – compared to the “piles of forms” 25 years ago.

Anyone interested in joining the latest survey, which is being supported by the Department of the Environment, should access the Coastwatch website (coastwatch. org) or email kdubsky@coastwatch.org for survey forms and test kits.