California Naturalist
California Naturalist
California Naturalist
University of California
California Naturalist

Northern CA PPSR Projects 1

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A vast majority of the information in the database was gathered from project websites and may be out of date.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.

REEF Volunteer Survey Project

Organization Name
Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF)
Organization Website
Contact Name
Contact Email
Contact Phone
Other Contact Information
Project Purpose (taken from project materials)

Collect and report information on marine fish populations as well as selected invertebrate and algae species along the West Coast of the US and Canada. The data are collected using a fun and easy standardized method, and are housed in a publicly-accessible database on REEF's Website. These data are used by a variety of resource agencies and researchers. 

Participant Activities

To collect data for the Project, REEF volunteers use the Roving Diver Technique (RDT), a visual survey method specifically designed for volunteer data. During RDT surveys, divers swim freely throughout a dive site and record every observed fish species that can be positively identified. Species and approximate abundance scores are recorded on an underwater slate. 

Data Entry
  • Website
  • Data Sheets
Other Participant Activities

Participation in other dive monitoring programs; Host a Great Annual Fish Count Seminar

System Studied
  • Marine
Geographic Scope
All (see 'geographic scope')
Coastal California
Location - Map
Time Commitment
  • Specific dates (see Other Information below)
  • Other (see Other Information below)
Volunteer Qualifications

Volunteers must be certified divers.
The only materials needed are an underwater slate and pencil, a good reference book, and access to the internet to submit the data online. Data may also be submitted via paper scantron form where there is no internet access. REEF has developed several survey materials that make things easy, including pre-formated underwater paper and waterproof ID guides. These supplies, as well as slates, pencils, and training courses are avilable through 
REEF's Online Store.

Volunteer Training

A short instructional video of the REEF survey method and tutorial pages written by two of REEF's regional partners: the Project S.E.A.-Link tutorial webpage and the Pacific Northwest Scuba tutorial webpage.

Cost to Participant
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.

The Great Annual Fish Count (GAFC) is an event that mobilizes and trains volunteer divers and snorkelers in established methodologies to identify and document fish diversity and population trends in marine ecosystems. This annual event takes place the month of July 

last update:

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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