Five Ways To Learn About Marine Science During Social Distancing

by Cape RADD

So, we’ve all been told to go home and socially distance ourselves… After a few days of sitting on the sofa in your underwear, it could get a little tiresome… But don’t worry, here are Cape RADD’s top tips for making the most of your time at home by learning more about marine science.

1. iNaturalist photo uploads and identification:

So, you’ve been taking all those photos from your dives, but don’t know what to do with them?

Well why not take this time to catch up on all those snaps you’ve been taking and put them to good use! Contribute them to Science!

If you’re not on iNaturalist already, then you should check it out. It is one of the world’s largest resources for citizen science nature observations. It helps you identify the plants and animals you have seen and also upload your photos and contribute your observation to a network of over 750,000 scientists and naturalists. The community help identify and teach each other about specific areas and species.

Photos don’t need to be award-winning shots, as long as they can be identified. Plus you will learn lots whilst you’re doing this.

What better way to put your observations and photography skills to use?

2. Take the Cape RADD endemic fish and shark test.

Cape RADD have developed a short and simple fish and shark identification test which can be taken by anyone.

Stay tuned for the Cape RADD endemic fish and shark ID workshop on our YouTube channel. Here we will go through some of the more common species of local fish species to the Western Cape area giving tips on how to best observe and Identify these species. After, you can take a fun test to see which species you could remember and successfully identify and which ones need some more revision.

Don’t panic, this is not pass or fail, this test has been designed to assist with confirming the accuracy of our citizen scientist retention and learning ability to check how reliable our ‘snorkel for science’ fish survey data might be. We can use this data against the data collected on the snorkel trips to review its accuracy and utilization.

3. Build on your marine science and conservation knowledge base.

You don’t have to go into work, so why not use that commute time to tune in to some informative videos or read an article on a topic of interest. There are so many platforms of media to learn from, whether it’s watching YouTube channels, doing online courses, or reading articles and journals.

Take this time to broaden your knowledge and inform yourself through reliable sources, it is a fantastic way to stay informed and grow your inquisitive nature in the field you are passionate about. *WARNING* watch out for that fake news! There is a lot of it these days, so make sure you head to reputable, recently updated sources. Check out the Cape RADD YouTube Channel

4. Organize an online book club to read and discuss books / YouTube videos

If you have a group of friends or a study group who you aren’t going to be able to see so often at the moment, or perhaps your school friends are also interested in marine biology, conservation, diving and snorkelling, why not start your very own book club or YouTube Club? If you see a YouTube channel you like then tell your friends to watch it, and it might just open up some interesting topics of discussion, controversy or new ideas for you and your friends to learn from.

This may sound like a bit of a cop-out but it will make the journey of discovering new things much more fun and interesting together, give it a try.

5. Listen to Podcasts!

This has got to be my new favourite thing to do. By now I’m sure you’re all aware of what a podcast is and where to find them. If you’re not, they are basically like listening to the radio, except the information is interesting, the presenters are not annoying egotists and you don’t have to listen to the same crap pop songs every 15 minutes…

 My list of recommendations:

  1. Speak up for the ocean blue
  2. The ZSL Wild Science
  3. Marine Conservation Happy Hour
  4. NOAA Ocean Podcast
  5. (Cape RADD will have one coming out soon…stay tuned)

Mike Barron

Mike is a marine biologist/scientist/conservationist and a PADI master scuba diver instructor. He has travelled the world diving and experiencing many ecosystems and their inhabitants. His main interests lie in the field of inter-specific animal behaviour and he has worked on shark deterrents using Killer whale stimuli.