A team of scientific and educational organizations led by Woods Hole Group has developed a smart phone app to study fish kills in Buzzards Bay.
The impetus for the app came after a Woods Hole Group field team came across a mass of nearly 1,000 dead fish in Buzzards Bay in 2009.
The “Buzzards Bay Fish Mortality” app utilizes mobile crowdsourcing to collect data from citizens who encounter dead fish on the beaches and waters of Buzzards Bay. The goal is to collect enough data to verify reports of large numbers of fish mortality in the area.
The fish mortality app utilizes “mCrowd”—a crowdsourcing platform developed by the University of Massachusetts Amherst. It is available for free in the iTunes App Store at mCrowd, and will soon be available for Android users.
Once downloaded, a user who comes across dead fish can easily send the information and photos to Woods Hole Group through a user-friendly platform. Drop-down and multiple-choice menus allow the user to input the date and time they encountered the fish, the approximate number of dead fish observed, the species and the location. Users can also upload photos and leave additional comments. The information flows to a database at Woods Hole Group where a team of scientists will compile it, analyze it over time and try to understand whether the deaths are natural or indicative of stressors in the waters.
Woods Hole Group also has set up text (SMS text 774-521-4508) and email reporting (firstname.lastname@example.org). Citizen scientists using text or email should report (1) number of fish, (2) location and time of encounter, (3) species and size of dead fish found, and (4) if a specimen was preserved on ice.
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