Take part in ocean science – on the beach or from your computer! | Citizen Science

With good weather forecast for most of the UK this coming weekend, and local schools breaking for half-term, many of you will be making a bee-line for the coasts… where you could be rock-pooling for science!

The Big Seaweed Search

Our Big Seaweed Search invites you to take photos of seaweeds and submit your observations online to help Museum researcher Juliet Brodie better understand how rising sea temperatures and other changes are affecting our beautiful seas.

Photo showing a member of the Museum staff standing behind a table with trays of different seaweeds on top of it, leaning forward to talk with a child and their family stood in front of the table.
Jules Agate from the Marine Conservation Society and staff from the Museum showcase the Big Seaweed Search at the 2017 Lyme Regis Fossil Festival

You can request a free Big Seaweed Search guide by emailing your name and postal address to seaweeds@nhm.ac.uk, or download and print your own to find out how to take part. In fact, the Museum is celebrating the oceans this year, and there are many ways to get involved in our year-long exploration of the marine world!

Miniature Fossils Magnified

From the comfort of your own home, you can delve into the Museum’s collection of tiny marine fossils called ‘Foraminifera’ – microscopic single-celled organisms with shells (called tests), found in both modern and ancient marine environments.

In our Miniature Fossils Magnified project, we are inviting you to help us transcribe the scientifically valuable information on a collection of microscope slides that feature Large Benthic Foraminifera from up to 500 million years ago.

Screen grab of the Miniature Fossils Magnified web page. Various drop down text entry fields are visible for inputting the text written on the label of the slide shown as a photograph to the left.
Be a digital volunteer for the Museum. Extract research data from microscope slides of some of the world’s smallest marine fossils.

The fossils are embedded in rocks that have been cut into extremely thin slices and mounted on microscope slides. With handwritten or old typewritten labels, we need human eyes to read the labels and type up the information to make it searchable and usable for our curators, researchers and people all over the globe who want to use our collections.

The data on these labels are invaluable – they can help us to understand how our environment and climate have changed, how ocean currents have changed, and also tell us the geological history of the area in which they were found.

Are you ready for an Ocean Adventure?

To discover other ways to get involved in scientific research around our oceans and marine habitats, follow our fun oceans flowchart of activities whenever you are ready for an adventure!

Image of a flowchart showing how you can participate in citizen science projects at the Museum
Our ocean activities chart will help you choose what projects to participate in.

Download the PDF of the ocean activities chart above.

Whatever your plans for the weekend and the school holidays, we hope you are able to get out and enjoy that sunshine!