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Old 23-10-2014, 06:08   #1
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Citizen Scientist Sailors

Crowd-sourcing Science on the High Seas

Oceanographers are interested in recruiting blue-water sailors to sample rarely traveled parts of the world's oceans ...”

From CBC Radio’s “Quirks & Quarks” Crowd-sourcing Science on the High Seas | Quirks & Quarks with Bob McDonald | CBC Radio

Paper in PLoS Biology PLOS Biology: The Common Oceanographer: Crowdsourcing the Collection of Oceanographic Data

Indigo V ExpeditionsHome - Indigo V Expeditions
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Old 23-10-2014, 10:56   #2
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Re: Citizen Scientist Sailors

Hi Gordon,
Exactly how would this work? Would they give us little start up kits to go sampling with? I have seen a few things not in current science literature/or have been described, as I am sure most of us have. How do they want us to report that?
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Old 24-10-2014, 05:29   #3
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Re: Citizen Scientist Sailors

The concept is still under development, but:
From the previously linked PLoS Paper:

“... A prototype ocean sampling microbial observatory (OSMO) is currently being ruggedized and automated for citizen-science-based collections of bacterioplankton samples.
This device is being developed as a collaboration between the Indigo V team members in their laboratories in the US, Singapore, and Australia and will autonomously sample microbial populations onto filters and preserve them.
The sailor/scientist would be responsible for metadata collection, uploading that data to a central database, and shipping the samples back to the lab for processing ...”
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Old 24-10-2014, 06:01   #4
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Re: Citizen Scientist Sailors

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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Oceanographers are interested in recruiting blue-water sailors to sample rarely traveled parts of the world's oceans ...
Crazy scientists... They should know that seawater tastes pretty much the same everywhere.
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Old 24-10-2014, 06:03   #5
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Re: Citizen Scientist Sailors

There was one a few years ago where you had to stop the boat dead in the water twice per day for 15 minutes. Try doing that on an oceanic downhill run.

This one appears a bit better
Quote:
In all but the heaviest seas, the crew was able to inventory the surface water population of bacterioplankton using a simple pump and filtration apparatus and make basic measurements of ocean physics and chemistry.
But the photo shows its heavy equipment using 3 crew, and the boat is stopped. That aint easy!

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Old 24-10-2014, 06:36   #6
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Re: Citizen Scientist Sailors

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But the photo shows its heavy equipment using 3 crew, and the boat is stopped. That aint easy!
Indeed, but from Home - Indigo V Expeditions :

“... the team has an answer: Keep it simple. “Our approach is to use automated instrumentation that will self-collect samples and eliminate the ‘human error’ aspect ...
... Next steps include designing "an ocean sampling microbial observatory" that's rugged, small and easy to deploy by next year ...”


The Indigo V expedition was a pioneering, proof of concept mission.
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Old 24-10-2014, 10:05   #7
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Re: Citizen Scientist Sailors

Thanks Gord.

If the record keeping was simple and electronic, mostly automatic, and the collection simple for one crew and the boat doesnt stop, then sure I wpuld be in it.

One must realise they are just a remote collection point and anomalies can not be investigated.

And yes, on the Tropical Trade winds routes theres a fair number of boats crossing, but only in one season. But i the high latitude or off the beaten track area, the places I call the Beth and Evans Oceans how many boats go through each year? Not many at all. I dont know if that makes it better or worse for the scientists.
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Old 24-10-2014, 21:00   #8
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Re: Citizen Scientist Sailors

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
<snip>
as a collaboration between the Indigo V team members in their laboratories in the US, Singapore, and Australia and will autonomously sample microbial populations onto filters and preserve them.
The sailor/scientist would be responsible for metadata collection, uploading that data to a central database, and shipping the samples back to the lab for processing ...”

So we are going to collect microbes and then ship them into various countries.

There are some interesting complications with that.

In my business we got very interested in dirt from various locations around the world to understand the various differences in corrosive effects. Details can't be shared and aren't important but...

One reason customs asks you if you have been on a farm lately is to stop microbes from moving around the world unmolested.

In fact we found that shipping "dirt" into the US required approvals and permits, required a "certified" lab to receive the stuff and was treated almost as hazardous waste.

There are ways to do things and there the ways to do things that the government approves of. I don't think I would be sending "dirty" microbial filled filters to anyone without understanding what laws I might be breaking...
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Old 25-10-2014, 05:27   #9
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Re: Citizen Scientist Sailors

There are protocols* for shipping/mailing environmental samples, biological samples, and even for Toxic and/or Infectious Substances; so I shouldn’t expect that these samples would present a significant problem.

I imagine the receiving Labs would provide appropriate instruction, packaging, and labeling.

* Per Title 49 of the US Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR).
Along with the 49 CFR regulations, shippers can prepare air dangerous goods packages according to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and published in the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Dangerous Goods Regulations.
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