Long-time GCOOS Outreach & Education Council (OEC) member Dr. Rusty Low, Senior Scientist with the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, has been an integral  part of GCOOS Citizen Science capacity-building efforts. Recently, she and colleague Dr. Becky Boger, of Brooklyn College, were funded by the National Science Foundation to implement crowd-sourcing techniques to aid in the development of digital recognition software to track the spread of Zika-carrying mosquito species in the Gulf.

GCOOS Outreach & Education Coordinator, Dr. Chris Simoniello, has been supporting the project to help spread the word about Citizen Science to a national audience. The Zika work will be included in a four-part Public Broadcasting Service series scheduled to premier in March/April 2017 called The Crowd & The Cloud. According to PBS, the series will be hosted by former NASA Chief Scientist Waleed Abdalati and each episode will “take viewers on a global tour of the projects and people on the front lines of this disruptive transformation in how science is done, and shows how anyone, anywhere can participate.”

One of the goals outlined in the GCOOS Strategic Plan is to facilitate and engage citizen science groups throughout the Gulf of Mexico and we’re pleased to be a part of this project. OEC members who attend the Council’s annual meeting in November will gain firsthand knowledge about the project, learn how to distinguish among mosquito species and engage their constituents in this timely project.