When: Spring (March-May). Your job is to find mating horseshoe crabs, note how many you see, and, if possible, count how many are adults and how many are juveniles (4 inches wide or smaller). Then, add the time, locations, habitat type, and environmental conditions - such as tides and moon phase - when a sighting occurs, and you've got it! you're a citizen scientist! Why do we care about horseshoe crab mating?
Citizen science is a powerful channel to get the general public of all ages engaged in contributing to the scientific community. Take a moment to look at the world around you. You can contribute your observations to an array of biological and environmental data such as species identification and environmental change. You can even use tools that you often carry with you, including your smart phone! This is a great way to get involved with the scientific community. Read on to see the latest citizen scientist actions you can take.
When: Late Spring (April-August). Do your part to protect nesting shorebirds, such as Least terns. These birds have lost much of their habitat due to coastal development, and are particularly sensitive to human disturbance. If you do see a nest, give it plenty of space. Learn more about their preferred habitat, how to spot a nest, and FSUCML efforts to protect valuable nesting habitat.
When: year round. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) needs your help to spot Smalltooth sawfish. Little is known about this unique animal, so scientists need your help to learn more about the areas in which sawfish are sighted. If you see a sawfish, note the date and time of encounter, the location, the estimated length of the sawfish, the water depth, and any other relevant information.
When: year round. Manatees can be found in warm waters of shallow rivers, bays, estuaries, and coastal waters. If you spot a manatee that is tagged or appears to be sick, injured, or dead, you can help the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) by reporting your sighting. Make sure to include the exact location, approximate size of the animal, location of the public boat ramp closest to the manatee, and any other valuable information.