New Ocean Conservation Group Aims to Inspire Action

Written by on April 4, 2014 in Other News, Spotlight

UPDATE — Ocean Sanctuaries recently adapted National Geographic’s newest citizen science tool, called FieldScope, to log encounters with sharks in the San Diego area! Divers can now log sightings and photos of leopard, horn, angel, and tope sharks, as well as pelagic species such as blue, mako, great white, and thresher. Simply create an account and click on ‘Enter Data’ to begin! A video tutorial will walk you through the rest of the process. You can learn more about FieldScope here.

Blue shark. Photo credit: Michael Bear.

Blue shark. Photo credit: Michael Bear.

Editor’s Note — This piece continues with our Ocean Organization Spotlight series, which features all kinds of foundations and organizations working to protect the oceans and its inhabitants around the globe.

Ocean Organization Spotlight: Ocean Sanctuaries

Screenshot from

Screenshot from

Ocean Sanctuaries is a new non-profit ocean conservation group founded on March 15, 2014 with a mission “to inspire people to take action around ocean conservation and habitat preservation.” To accomplish this, Ocean Sanctuaries will create a community which uses multi-media, social media, and the web as a way to educate and share information with everyone from scientists to the general public. Ocean Sanctuaries is also one of only a few NPOs primarily oriented towards ocean citizen science.

Below you will find the news release announcing the creation of Ocean Sanctuaries. Check it out:

Two San Diego AAUS (American Academy of Underwater Sciences) science divers, Barbara Lloyd and Michael Bear, have joined forces to establish a non-profit ocean conservation group called Ocean Sanctuaries. It will be devoted to species conservation, ocean sustainability, as well as supporting citizen science projects and documentary films which involve the ocean.

Lloyd, who is a life-long resident of San Diego as well as an experienced recreational SCUBA diver and filmmaker, felt that the ‘time had come’ for an ocean conservancy non-profit to be established in San Diego.

Lloyd said, ‘We have envisioned an organization which is a collaboration between citizen scientists, scientists, and other like-minded organizations to foster greater understanding, wise ecology, species protection and good stewardship of the ocean and related habitats. We hope to do this by creating a community which educates and shares information through multi-media, social media, and the web. We will also make data and imagery, gathered by citizen scientists, available to the general public, scientists, and other organizations.’

Bear, who is also an experienced recreational diver and contributor for Marine Science Today and California Diver Magazine, agreed that the time had come for an ocean-related non-profit focused on citizen science.

Sevengill shark.

Sevengill shark. Photo credit: Adventures in Librarianship via photopin cc.

Part of the mission of Ocean Sanctuaries will be to support ocean-related citizen science projects which are already established, such as the Sevengill Shark Identification Project that Bear founded in 2010 to monitor and track Sevengill sharks (Notorynchus cepedianus) in the San Diego area, using a pair of pattern recognition algorithms to analyze the freckling patterns on the dorsal sides of Sevengill sharks. This involves using photographs taken by local divers who have been trained to recognize this species and obtain high definition photographs from various angles.

To see how these algorithms, part of a software program called ‘Wildbook,’ developed by Jason Allan Holmberg, are being used to successfully ID Whale Sharks, see: For the scientific methodology involved in the Sevengill Shark Tracking Project, see here:

You can find them on the web at Ocean Sanctuaries, on Facebook at and Twitter at @OSanctuaries.

Copyright © 2014 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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