California Naturalist
California Naturalist
California Naturalist
University of California
California Naturalist

Community Science for CA Naturalists

Welcome to our ongoing effort to catalog citizen science and other public participation in scientific research (PPSR) projects for UC California Naturalists and other citizen scientists.  We invite you to browse the listed projects or enter key words (like birds, youth, invasive, coast, Alameda, etc.) in the search box above to find projects in your area. It's a great way to stay involved and keep developing your skills as a natural scientist!

A vast majority of the information in the database was gathered from project websites and may be out of date. We encourage you to contact projects directly to get involved and learn about most recent opportunities. If you work with a listed project and would like to add to, update, or correct the information we have, please email Also, please consider filling out the "PPSR perspectives" survey. Click here to access the survey, which will help guide this project in the coming year.

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

Special thanks goes to the National Science Foundation Informal Science Education program and the Stephen J. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation for supporting this database of projects.

 Project Name EarthWatch Institute Expeditions
 Organization Name EarthWatch Institute
 Project Website
 Organization Website
 Contact Email
 Contact Phone (978)461-0081
 Project Purpose (taken from project materials) Examine how the human impacts, such as shipping lanes and pollution are affecting marine mammal populations along the coast.

 Participant Activities Activities in the travel program include: taking photographs of the animals to identify individuals, recording GPS coordinates of all marine mammal species, video-recording any unusual behaviors, and filling out data sheets with information on behavior and respiration rates. You will also sample oceanographic variables such as water temperature, salinity, and chlorophyll. From the shore, you’ll help spot whales using binoculars, track their movement using a theodolite, and video-record any unusual behaviors.

 Data Entry Other
 Other Participant Activities Group meals and accomodations

 System Studied Mammals, Marine
 Geographic Scope Local
 Region Orange
 Location Waters between the Los Angeles area and Santa Catalina Island
 Location - Map Huntington Beach, CA
 Time Commitment Specific dates (see Other Information below)
 Volunteer Qualifications None.

 Volunteer Training Yes. Training is part of trip activities and includes data collection as well as analysis.

 Cost to Participant Ranges, typically $2000-$4,000

 How will the findings be used? Individuals are identified to investigate population trends physiological data is recorded to examine their energetics (e.g. are their swim speeds or respiration patterns different from previous years?), and sightings are mapped to assess relationships with human activity and oceanographic variables The research team will assess if whale watching activities are a disturbance (e.g. do animals change their swim path, respiration rates, or activity in the presence of boat traffic?). They are also using photographs to look for direct evidence of whale injuries to estimate the percent of whales that have survived vessel collisions or entanglements with fishing gear.

 Other Information Trips last between 7 and 14 days and leave from June to August

If you work with this project and would like to add to or update the information below, please email

If you know of a project not on our list, please go to the "tell us about a project" link on the left so we can list the project here. Thanks for your help!

This database is focused on projects in California focused on the environment. For opportunities outside California, as well as national projects that don't have a California-specific components, check

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