Citizen Science Programs at the Centers for Oceans and Human Health
The NIEHS and the National Science Foundation have created the Oceans and Human Health (OHH) program, which emphasizes research on harmful algal blooms (HABs), infectious microbes (Vibrio bacteria), and contaminants of emerging concern such as microplastics. To foster community involvement and participation, each of the four OHH Centers has a Community Engagement Core that works with Center researchers to communicate research findings more effectively and to engage community groups, resource managers, other stakeholders, and the public. This webinar will discuss several ongoing citizen science programs at the Great Lakes and South Carolina Centers that involve community members as learners and practitioners of OHH research. Dr. George Bullerjahn will discuss partnerships established with local stakeholders in the Great Lakes region to collect data and track the spread and intensity of algal blooms. This citizen science program engages charter boat captains in Lake Erie, as well as U.S. Coast Guard personnel, in the collection of water samples to provide real-time data on the prevalence of freshwater HABs. Drs. Geoff Scott and Heath Kelsey will discuss stakeholder engagement efforts that have resulted in a series of community engagement activities, including "Ecosystem Health Report Cards" for multiple coastal and riverine ecosystems in the U.S, as well as ongoing regional citizen science programs that engage residents and recreational users in assessing local health risks regarding seafood consumption and contact recreation, thus increasing their understanding of the knowledge, perceptions, and values related to HABs and Vibrios.