April 18, 2024

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Seahorse research is supported by volunteer citizen scientists

Members of the public are helping to advance research into seahorses, small fish that can be found in coral reefs, shallow waters and estuaries around the world, a study says.

When researchers looked at the results of public contributions to the iSeahorse science project between 2013 and 2022, they found that community effort enabled scientific progress in the field.

Citizen contributions provided new information on 10 of the 17 species of sea horses with data that were considered deficient and helped update knowledge about the geographic distribution of nine species. The researchers wrote in the Journal of Fish Biology. Some observations have even helped scientists better understand when and how sea horses reproduce.

Founded in 2013, the iSeahorse Project asks the public to record sea horse sightings and monitor the animals' behavior. According to the project websiteiSeahorse has collected around 11,000 notes from over 1,900 contributors so far.

Overall, the researchers were able to validate 7,794 observations from 96 countries and 35 sea horse species. Volunteer observers also noticed rare species that traditional monitoring may not have been able to detect, they wrote.

“Seahorses are a fascinating species to benefit from community science, because they are mysterious enough to make formal research difficult,” Heather Koldewe, co-founder of the project and head of the Bertarelli Foundation's Marine Science Program, said in an article. a New release. Koldewey, who co-wrote the study, said the new results underscore the importance of societal scientific efforts in raising awareness and achieving environmental conservation goals.

Do you want to participate? Visit https://projectseahorse.org/iseahorse/ To learn more.

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