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Using Citizen Science to Analyze Underwater Video in the Great Lakes

Using Citizen Science to Analyze Underwater Video in the Great Lakes

EPA Region 5, Great Lakes National Program Office, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Underwater photo of invasive speciesThe evaluation of invasive species is an important part of maintaining the Great Lakes. Environmental managers have used video footage to monitor these species, but video processing is a resource-intensive undertaking. Engaging citizen scientists to analyze videos for habitat characteristics and invasive species can help reduce current knowledge gaps. This project develops and uses a web application to test the ability of citizen scientists to evaluate 1000 underwater videos of the Great Lakes by comparing their analysis to previously-collected expert analysis.  This project will demonstrate the effectiveness of citizen scientists’ participation in environmental assessment, potentially reduce costs by 2/3 compared to analysis by experts, and provide needed information for water resource managers.

Project leads: Mari Nord ( and Molly Wick (