Observadores del Mar and Marilles Foundation work together to strengthen and expand the marine citizen science program in the Balearic Islands.
Sandra Espeja is the new coordinator of the Balearic Marine Citizen Science Program. A job designed as a resource for Sea Watchers in the Balearic Islands, but housed at Marilles Foundation.
Palma, February 3, 2020. Observadores del Mar (Sea Watchers) is a benchmark marine citizen science platform in the Balearic Islands. Since its creation in 2012, it has involved thousands of people in marine research. It has become a meeting place for all sectors and promotes dialogue between society and scientists on environmental and conservation problems related to the sea. The web platform is coordinated from the CSIC ( ICM , CEAB e IMEDEA ) and has the participation of experts from different research centers, national and international. Likewise, Observadores del Mar is in alliance with the LIFE INTEMARES project, promoted by the Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry for Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge. Since 2018, the Marilles Foundation financially supports Observadores del Mar to strengthen their activities in the Balearic Islands, improve their webapp --point meeting platform— and participate in the development of the platform's strategic plan in the medium and long term. The hiring of a coordinator for the Marine Citizen Science Program in the Balearic Islands is due to the willingness of both entities to reinforce existing projects and design new initiatives working closely with research centers, public administrations and diversity of groups such as the educational community, centers diving, nautical clubs, fishermen, tourism sector, NGO, and the general public. Sandra Espeja has a degree in Environmental Sciences from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and a master's degree in Integrated Management of Coastal Areas from the University of Cádiz. Joaquim Garrabou, coordinator of Observadores del Mar, says: "In addition to generating new knowledge, citizen science has a very high component of raising awareness and democratizing information. The result is to promote transformative processes towards a more sustainable and respectful society with nature. We are working to consolidate and expand the initiative and that is why we have the invaluable support of the Marilles Foundation. " According to Aniol Esteban, director of the Marilles Foundation: “The future of the Balearic Sea requires a strong marine citizen science program. Joining forces with Observadores del Mar is the best way to achieve this. " Marilles is a non-profit foundation that works to make the Balearic Islands a world example of sea conservation. It finances projects that improve the conservation of the Balearic Sea, leads the dialogue between local actors to design solutions; and collaborates with other foundations and private donors to attract more funding. Everyone has a role to play in conserving the marine environment and a solid scientific base is essential to move forward.