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National coastal project wins £1.7m

Discovery: Hundreds are expected to volunteer to work with Portsmouth marine scientists as part of the UK’s largest-ever citizen science project

Discovery: Hundreds are expected to volunteer to work with Portsmouth marine scientists as part of the UK’s largest-ever citizen science project

£1.7m funding has been given to the largest citizen marine science project ever undertaken to help monitor and protect marine life around the UK’s coastline.

Scientists at the University of Portsmouth’s Institute of Marine Sciences will play a key role in the ‘Capturing our Coast’ project which is recruiting 3,000 volunteers from across the UK to work alongside experts.

The project is designed to establish a baseline so scientists can better understand how the marine environment is responding to global climate change. The results will inform future policy and conservation strategies.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project, led by Newcastle University, includes scientists from the universities of Portsmouth, Hull, Bangor and the Scottish Association for Marine Science, and a number of key organisations including the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth, the Marine Conservation Society, Earthwatch Institute, the Natural History Museum, Cefas and the Coastal Partnerships Network.

Dr Gordon Watson, from the University of Portsmouth, said: “One of the criticisms of citizen science in the past has been is the accuracy of the data collected. But in this project we will be helping turn our volunteers into ‘specialists’, working on their own chosen topics or species.

“The novelty of this new training scheme will allow volunteers to work alongside scientists in an unprecedented way.”

Hundreds of volunteers from across the region will work with Dr Watson and his team from September.

Nationally, the project will also give people who don’t necessarily have access to the coast the chance to join in via workshops, social media and other events.

Project lead Dr Jane Delany, from Newcastle University, said: “Collecting this information about our coastlines is vital if we are to protect them for the future but we can’t do it without the help of the public.

“What this project aims to do is develop a network of citizen scientists who can help us build an accurate picture of marine life all around the UK – a baseline against which we can better understand the impact of climate change and other environmental and human factors.

“It gives us the opportunity to carry out the same experiment at the same time to gain an accurate picture of the ecological processes in the marine environment across different latitudes and environmental conditions.  This data will then feed into a national database and inform future policy, conservation and science.”

The project will be open for volunteers wanting to take part from September. For more information and to register an interest, email

5 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. I’d like to join national coastal project and get more information I enjoy walking along beach in portsmouth and southsea and surrounding areas

  2. Id like to join this project as a volunteer. But am having trouble accessing the email address.

  3. Hi,
    I deliver outdoor activities within an EBD school in Littlehampton. As part of the Outdoor pursuit we deliver the John muir award as part of the challenge is to conserve an area. So far we’ve litter picked in Whiteways park Arundel. The students have been engaged and in the last 2 weeks we’ve started beach combing East Beach to Elmer Rocks.
    Being part of this project with my students would add real value to the award and their education.


  4. Thanks for the interest everyone, if you would like to get involved you can email

  5. Hi, I would like to join. I am going diving at Weymouth on the first weekend in August.

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