ORCA's Citizen Science program educates and engages community members in solving the problems that are leading to the degradation of the Indian River Lagoon. Our educators and scientists train citizen volunteers to participate in different components of our research programs and initiatives.
Citizen Science Projects
ORCA's One Health program is focused on studying the transfer of toxins and toxicants from the Indian River Lagoon to humans and animals. One way we do this is by testing fish from the lagoon and surrounding waterways. One Health Fish Monitoring Citizen Scientists assist in collecting fish, as well as processing and analyzing samples in the lab at ORCA’s Center for Citizen Science.
ORCA's Pollution Mapping is a robust monitoring project that tests for a comprehensive array of both water and sediment quality data at sampling sites within the IRL or water bodies that influence the health of the lagoon. Citizen Scientists are trained to perform the same monitoring methods used by ORCA Scientists, and will "adopt" a site to test seasonally. Teams of Citizen Scientists work in the field to collect water quality data, measure muck depth, and collect water and sediment samples, and are encouraged to receive further training to perform the laboratory analyses of collected samples.
ORCA's nine Living Shorelines in Indian River County are constructed of breakwaters made from bagged, fossilized shell and hundreds of native shoreline plants. All of our Living Shorelines require quarterly monitoring. Teams of Citizen Scientists are trained to collect biological, chemical, and physical data near the breakwaters and adjacent shorelines. Most of ORCA's Living Shorelines require a boat for monitoring. Citizen Scientists will also be trained to compile, analyze, and report data to ORCA.
ORCA’s Vital Signs program measures the health and survival of a variety of sentinel species such as oysters - but including other filter feeders and bioaccumulators - deployed throughout the Lagoon. Once each season Citizen Scientists collect a subset of the species from cages deployed from docks and other fixed structures throughout the lagoon. Additionally, they clean and maintain the cages, collect water quality data, and make regular cage observations. Interested Citizen Scientists can be trained to process and analyze the samples collected as well.
A Day in the Life of the Indian River Lagoon (ADIL) is a community-based, experiential research program designed to have students, teachers, and environmental experts collaborate in the collection of water quality data and biological inventories along the Indian River Lagoon on a designated day. Learn more: https://www.teamorca.org/citizen-science.html
About OCEAN RESEARCH & CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION INC
1420 SEAWAY DRIVE 2ND FLOOR, FORT PIERCE, FL 34949, US
The mission of the Ocean Research & Conservation Association (ORCA) is to protect and restore aquatic ecosystems and the species they sustain through the development of innovative technologies and science-based conservation action.
Among the current programs at ORCA are the Fast Assessment of Sediment Toxicity program and the Kilroy program, which provide real-time water quality information to identify sources of nonpoint source pollution in coastal and estuarine waters.