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A vast majority of the information in the database was gathered from project websites and may be out of date.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 Invertebrate and Algae Monitoring Programs
 Organization Name REEF
 Project Website
 Organization Website
 Partners Living Oceans Society
 Contact Name Christy Pattengill-Semmens, Ph.D., Director of Science, REEF Pacific Office San Diego,
 Contact Email
 Other Contact Information

 Project Purpose (taken from project materials) to collect and report information on selected invertebrate and algae species along the West Coast of the US and Canada - invertebrates and algae can serve as valuable indicators of the health and status of local environments.

 Participant Activities Invertebrates are monitored using the same Roving Diver Technique (RDT) survey method used in REEF fish surveys.  The RDT is a visual survey method specifically designed for volunteer data. During the survey dive, the surveyor swims freely throughout a dive site and records the presence of all fish species and/or each of the invertebrate/algae species included in the program that are encountered and that can be positively identified.

 Data Entry Website, Data Sheets
 Other Participant Activities Participation in other monitoring programs

 System Studied Marine
 Geographic Scope Regional
 Region All (see 'geographic scope')
 Location Coastal California
 Time Commitment Other (see Other Information below)
 Volunteer Qualifications Must be certified diver

 Volunteer Training

Survey and training materials have been created that include information about the invertebrates and algae included, including image-based training curricula ("Introduction to Identification of Pacific Northwest Invertebrates" and "Introduction to Invertebrates and Algae in California").  Waterproof survey paper that lists both fish and invertebrates is available as well as color identification cards.  All of these materials are available through our online store or from REEF HQ.
There is also an online tutorial for data submission 

 Cost to Participant Survey equipment must be purchased and is available from the REEF online store.

 How will the findings be used? The data is compiled with other surveys into a batch, which gets processed every few weeks. Not only does it go through computer quality control error checks, but REEF personnel review the data before the batch is passed into  REEF's accessible online database. From this database, a variety of reports can be generated on species distribution and population trends, for a specific site or region. 
As the invertebrate and algae database grows, the data will be useful in a variety of management and conservation applications.

 Other Information REEF surveys are conducted as part of a diver's regular diving activities; anytime they are in the water.

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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