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A vast majority of the information in the database was gathered from project websites and may be out of date.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 Reef Check California
 Organization Name Reef Check
 Project Website
 Organization Website
 Contact Email
 Other Contact Information See website for training schedule and sign-up procedure

 Project Purpose (taken from project materials) Survey nearshore reefs providing data on the status of key indicator species - assess the relative abundance and size distribution of target species and how these parameters are changing over time. This will permit the evaluation of population and community attributes at sites inside and outside of existing and proposed Marine Protected Areas and will provide insight into how different sites respond to newly imposed management measures.

 Participant Activities Volunteers conduct dives to survey species near California reefs. Based on the Department of Fish and Game's CRANE monitoring program, sites will contain three core 30 meter transects in each of two habitat zones (offshore and inshore reef), with a maximum depth limit of 18 m (~60') (see figure). At these core transects, divers will assess fishes, invertebrates, seaweed and substrate. In addition to the 6 core transects, divers will survey 12 fish- only transects that are distributed across the site (6 offshore and 6 inshore).

 Data Entry Website, Data Sheets
 Other Participant Activities

Reef Check Diver Forum:

 System Studied Marine
 Geographic Scope Statewide
 Region All (see 'geographic scope')
 Location Reefs along California Coast
 Location - Map 17575 Pacific Coast Highway, Pacific Palisades CA 90272-1057
 Time Commitment Specific dates (see Other Information below)
 Volunteer Qualifications
  • Proof of dive certification
  • Minimum of 30 logged lifetime dives
  • Minimum of 15 logged dives in California or other temperate region with water temp below 68° F
  • Minimum of 6 dives within the last year
  • Minimum age of 16 on the first day of class
  • Completion of liability release
  • Completed reading of Reef Check California training manual
Participants must provide all their own dive gear including weights and tanks. All training and research materials will be provided which include the Reef Check California training manual, indicator organism ID cards (flash cards and underwater ID card), dive slates, transect line and underwater data sheets.

 Volunteer Training

In addition to direct survey methods, the training program will address safe diving practices, techniques of research diving, sampling design and theory, general marine ecology including species identification and interactions, and the importance of monitoring to meet marine management needs. Trainings include a combination of class room and field sessions. Following completion of the training, all participants will have the skills necessary to successfully complete the training examination allowing them to contribute data to the statewide database and will be eligible to obtain a Reef Check California Specialty Certification (NAUI or PADI). 

see for schedule

Training costs:
$50 for recertification
$200 for shore based class
$275 for 2-day boat dive class
$300 for 2-day overnight boat dive class 

 Cost to Participant There is a cost to participate in the required training (see above)

 How will the findings be used?

Data is mapped and downloadable at

 Other Information

Southern California Dive Schedule:
Central/Northern California Schedule: 

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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