How can I become a citizen scientist?


The best way to spend your free time is to go on activities in nature. For our mental and physical health, we find our own corner and moment of peace in nature. We spend it in the company of family, friends or meet some new people. In doing so, we can observe events in nature and learn from them. But do you know that this is how you can become a citizen scientist?

Reports from “citizen scientists” – the most effective way of collecting information about the state of the environment

Citizen science, i.e., the participation of the public in the collection of data needed by scientists, is one of the most effective ways of quickly collecting the necessary information about the state of the environment. Scientists cannot cover the entire area, and sometimes it takes a little luck to be in the right place at the right time. That is why reports from “citizen scientists” are necessary in order to quickly and efficiently determine the occurrence of new or rare species or changes in the environment.

A good example of citizen science is the action Have you seen the Pen Shell? which aims to save the endemic species of the largest bivalve in the Mediterranean, the Pinna nobilis. The campaign has been going on for two years, and unfortunately, it continues. In the whole story, the positive thing is that scientists, the competent Ministry and Public Institutions for the Management of Protected Areas, and citizens joined together in an attempt to save this species.

NEW web form for reporting the finding of dead wild strictly protected species

In the past few years, various platforms and applications for data entry have been created, some of which had technical shortcomings, and the activity of citizens was great. That is why the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development created a NEW web form for reporting the finding of dead wild strictly protected species, within the System for reporting and monitoring caught, killed, injured, and sick strictly protected animals. You can find the form at the link

The form is adapted for viewing and entering via smartphones. The web notification form is also used to register sightings of all types of mammals, regardless of whether they are strictly protected species or individuals that have not died, for the purpose of collecting data for the Atlas of European Mammals. Reports are reported by selecting the field “Other” under the heading “Living individual found” and entering EMMA2.

In case you find an injured or dead animal and you need quick intervention from the competent services, it is best to call 112. The operator will connect you further after the described situation. If you are interested in how to proceed further, you can find out more information in the HAOP Protocol for notification and action in case of finding dead, sick, or injured strictly protected marine animals.


A story from the field – Sunce, a citizen scientist

Sunce has been conducting various field research for many years, and last fall, while mapping the habitat in Stračinska Bay on the island of Šolta, we spotted a dead dolphin stranded on a reef. We called 112 and reported the observation. The operator then connected us to the competent organization, to which we gave the location and described the situation. They asked us if we were willing to leave a contact number if we would like to participate in some further procedures, which are not mandatory. Since we were biologists on board, of course, we agreed. The whole communication up to that part lasted about two minutes.

Colleagues from Blue World and from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine called us to describe the animal to them – size, sex, and estimated age of the corpse. Since we had the necessary equipment with us, we performed tissue sampling, which we placed in alcohol upon our return from the field. With the help of the sample, a genetic analysis is carried out and it is found out whether the individual may have been recorded in the Adriatic before and whether it is part of another research. Do not engage in sampling if you have a weak stomach and do not have the necessary equipment with you and what happened to the dolphin? The competent services contacted the Municipality of Šolta and the Municipal Corporation, which came to remove the individual and dispose of it properly.

Become a citizen scientist

If the next time you go out into nature for a walk, on a trip, hiking, cycling, kayaking, swimming, sailing or maybe diving, you spot an injured animal or a strictly protected species, become a citizen scientist and record your observations on the Reporting System.