Citizen Science… What is it?

Citizen science is a way of conducting scientific research that uses people without formal scientific education or training to gather data needed for experiments. Volunteers may serve as data collectors, processors or analysts. Citizen science helps scientists to amass huge datasets that are not possible for them to develop individually.

Become involved in citizen science on the Oregon coast and beyond today! Find ways to contribute to science below.


Report on stranded marine mammals, prevent harassment. Hosted by Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute at the Hatfield Marine Science Center.  

Identify plankton from photos posted online as part of an international 'crowdsourcing' project. Hosted by Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center and the University of Miami, citizen scientists will collect data for researchers by identifying individual plankton from samples collected on board ships and deployed in the ocean. Part of a diverse set of projects available at  

Identify and report stranded fish, cephalopods and reptiles. Hosted by Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center.  

Report precipitation data in your microclimate and fill in gaps from existing weather stations. Hosted by Oregon State University’s Oregon Climate Service.  

Identify and report on beached seabirds. 

Adopt a mile of beach, walk it once every three months and note natural and human-caused changes. 

Monitor water quality on Oregon’s beaches. 

See and photograph butterflies and moths. 

Note the timing of plants leafing or blooming.  

Help science by counting birds.  

Help scientists understand the nuances of human/animal interactions by sending a short video of you playing with your pet.     

Help MIT researchers map the brain by playing games for science.        

Search for signs of intelligent life in the universe.  

The citizen strikes back: “extreme” citizen science describes a methodology that limits the roles of scientists to guidance and material support and allows citizens to selecttheir own projects, analyze data and make recommendations for action. 

The Zooniverse is home to the internet's largest, most popular and most successful citizen science projects in diverse fields including space, humanities, nature and climate.