As part of Citizen Science Month 2023, we’re sharing excerpts from ‘Into the Zooniverse’, a series of books celebrating the projects and people of the Zooniverse.

You can find and download all editions of ‘Into the Zooniverse’ here.

Koster Seafloor Observatory

FOR THE LAST 20 years, scientists have been monitoring and filming areas of the Kosterhavets National Park using Remotely Operated Vehicles. This park contains a highly diverse marine ecosystem which has been under active protection since 2009. Many deep sea bottom dwellers which live here can also be found in the open Atlantic Ocean. That’s because the conditions at the bottom of the fjord here are very similar due to subsurface currents which carry in larvae of these creatures.

Researchers are interested in studying how climate change and human activity has influenced the flora and fauna in this area. Zooniverse volunteers are helping by analyzing the footage and classifying what species or plant-life is visible. These classifications allow the team to filter out crucial information from the recordings and study how the seafloor has changed in response to warmer waters, fishing activities, and changes in environmental protection. Annotations from early projects on Zooniverse have also helped the research team develop an AI based object-detection model which labels video footage of coral and other species, used in ecological research of Swedish coastal waters. The team also once sunk a whale carcass in the Koster fjord and subsequently discovered a new species of whale-bone-eating worms. Volunteers helped identify these new creatures. Maybe you will find something exciting, too! 

Image credit: Koster Seafloor Observatory Project

Summary by: Sean Miller

Check out this project: here

View the full ‘Into the Zooniverse’ book: here