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Zookeys. 2011;(150):211-29. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.150.2149. Epub 2011 Nov 28.

Engaging the broader community in biodiversity research: the concept of the COMBER pilot project for divers in ViBRANT.

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1
Institute of Marine Biology and Genetics, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, 71003 Heraklion, Crete, Greece.

Abstract

This paper discusses the design and implementation of a citizen science pilot project, COMBER (Citizens' Network for the Observation of Marine BiodivERsity, http://www.comber.hcmr.gr), which has been initiated under the ViBRANT EU e-infrastructure. It is designed and implemented for divers and snorkelers who are interested in participating in marine biodiversity citizen science projects. It shows the necessity of engaging the broader community in the marine biodiversity monitoring and research projects, networks and initiatives. It analyses the stakeholders, the industry and the relevant markets involved in diving activities and their potential to sustain these activities. The principles, including data policy and rewards for the participating divers through their own data, upon which this project is based are thoroughly discussed. The results of the users analysis and lessons learned so far are presented. Future plans include promotion, links with citizen science web developments, data publishing tools, and development of new scientific hypotheses to be tested by the data collected so far.

KEYWORDS:

Citizen science; SCUBA diving; data collection and publication; marine biodiversity; sustainability

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