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A vast majority of the information in the database was gathered from project websites and may be out of date.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

Invasive Tunicate Network (iTunicate)

  • Organization Name
    Plate Watch
  • Organization Website
  • Partners
    Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), San Francisco State University
  • Contact Name
    Linda McCann, network coordinator
  • Contact Email
  • Contact Phone
    N / A
  • Other Contact Information
    N / A
  • Project Purpose (taken from project materials)

    Engage citizen volunteers in the collection of critical background data on invertebrates in coastal ecosystems, to facilitate the early detection of invasive marine species. Species targeted for monitoring include 8 marine species invasive in California with the potential for transport and significant impacts in more pristine habitats to the north, such as Alaska.

    The Adopt-A-Plate program is being established to (a) detect biological
    invasions by non-native marine species; (b) measure changes in the distribution and abundance of marine invertebrates more broadly, and (c) measure important water quality parameters.


  • Participant Activities

    The Invasive Tunicate Network utilizes settlement plates to collect target species. Each participant examines key organisms at a single site and collects descriptive physical measures. Clean PVC plates are deployed from piers and floating docks 1-4 times/year, for 3 – 9 months, retrieved, photographed and specimens of interest are collected and preserved for confirmation by expert taxonomists. At each deployment date, participants also measure water temperature, salinity and turbidity and take notes on nearby land and water activities.

  • Data Entry
    • Website
    • Collection Kits
    • Data Sheets
  • Other Participant Activities

    Participants can manipulate data and participate in discussions with other volunteers.

  • System Studied
    • Invasive Species
    • Marine
  • Geographic Scope
  • Region
    Northern California
  • Location
    Morro Bay, Berkeley, and other sites in coastal California, as well as many sites in Alaska
  • Location - Map
    3152 Paradise Drive Tiburon, California 94920
  • Time Commitment
    • Specific dates (see Other Information below)
  • Volunteer Qualifications

    Participants must have a good digital camera with good macro photography capabilities. Plate Watch provides each participant with plates, collecting vials, temperature loggers, data sheets and instructions. 

  • Volunteer Training

    Through on-line field guides, resources and supportive networks, Invasive Tunicate Network volunteers learn how to identify the target non-native species and quiz themselves on their knowledge.

  • Cost to Participant
    N / A
  • How will the findings be used?

    Data will eventually be accessible in an online database. Reports and newsletters developed with data from the project are also available on the website.

  • Other Information

    We estimate the time required for one site (10 plates) @ 1 day every 3 months.
    As a minimum, the plates will be deployed initially on or about 15 June and retrieved 3 months later, on or about 15 September. This standard time period allows comparison across many sites, including North America and overseas. Ideally, the network participant/group will be able to sample quarterly with replacement, setting out new plates upon retrieval of the initial summer collectors.

  • Photo
    N / A
  • last update:
    N / A

If you work with this project and would like to add to or update the information below, please email cghdixon@ucdavis.edu.

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 http://www.birds.cornell.edu/citscitoolkit/projects.