Seasearch run a number of schemes aimed at recorders of various levels of experience, expertise and engagement. These are grouped under 4 headings.
Single visit species recording
Single visit habitat recording
Effort based site monitoring
This consists of recording a single record of a single species (or numerous species) from a specific location on a specific date. This is the most common type of citizen science record in the terrestrial environment and is typically facilitated through mobile apps etc. However in the marine environment this is somewhat more difficult (your phone won’t work underwater for a start). This is a good starting point for someone who’s interested in recording but doesn’t have the time to commit to a training or a more formal recording scheme. This is particularly important for records or rare or under recorded species. The Seasearch species Identification sheets are a useful tool for identifying individual species as are guide books and online resources. Records can be logged directly with the National Biodiversity Data Centre, through our dedicated Facebook group or by contacting us by email @ SeasearchIreland@gmail.com. A number of notable records have been submitted by divers in recent years and all divers should be encouraged to submit casual records of unique or unusual sightings.
Single visit species recording – Seasearch Observer
The Seasearch Observer form is used information on seabed and seabed cover type but largely is useful for recording a species list from a site. An Observer course is the usual introduction to Seasearch recording and teaches the basic of underwater recording, habitat surveying and species identification. More information is available at Seaseach training.
Single visit habitat recording – Seasearch Surveyor
The Seasearch Surveyor form provides a wide variety of data on habitats present at individual sites based on a single site visit. While the number of individuals engaged in the submission of this data is a relatively small subset of the Seasearch recording community the data provided from Surveyor recording in the UK has been used in the designation of their network of Marine Conservation Zones. It is hoped that by increasing the capacity for recording within the Irish diving community more people can be trained to the Surveyor level and that those already submitting records at this level can be further trained through Specialist courses. More information on Surveyor training is available. Surveyor training is normally undertaken after a suitable level of experience in recording at Observer level has been achieved and is quite an in-depth training course.
Effort based recording scheme – National Marine Monitoring Scheme
In order to better monitor inshore biodiversity the National Marine Monitoring Scheme/Adopt a Site was launched in 2016. The Scheme consists of 17 sites monitored once a month over 5 months (May-September) and to the end of 2017 has collected 2652 records of 209 species. More information on the scientific rationale behind the National Marine Monitoring Scheme is available here. The Adopt a Site scheme is aimed at clubs, dive centres and individual divers and training is organised locally on request. For more information on organising an Adopt a Site training session for your club or local dive group email NMMSIrl@gmail.com.