Ana Nuevo Island Animal Count-Zooniverse

Open Opportunity


Every year, thousands of seals and sea lions haul out on Año Nuevo Island to give birth, molt, and rest. The secluded shores of the island make a perfect spot for northern elephant seal and California sea lion mothers to give birth and nurse their pups. Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz are interested in tracking the number of animals that haul out onto the island's beaches. To study when and where the animals haul out, researchers took drone photos of the island about every two weeks for the past four years.

Although the island is small, thousands of animals can inhabit it at a time, which is where citizen scientists like you come in! We need your help to count each individual animal on a given day. We have divided the drone photos into small sections - some sections may be full of animals, and some may be empty. By helping us classify these photos, you can be part of a collaborative project to better understand how many seals, sea lions, and birds are on Año Nuevo Island during different times of the year, and how the population sizes fluctuate between years. This information can provide important insight into the health of different pinniped and bird populations as well as emphasize the importance of continued protection of Año Nuevo Island and the surrounding areas in Monterey Bay.

This project will potentially allow researchers to investigate three important topics:
1.) The effectiveness of citizen science in simple but large-scale data analysis.
2.) A comparison of the success of censuses from the ground versus aerial photographs.
3.) Investigation of the changes of seal, sea lion, and bird populations in recent years.

Thank you for volunteering your time as a citizen scientist to help us with this important project!

For more information about this project and how to sign up, please navigate here
Please remember to click the green “Register” button on the upper right hand side of this page if you participate in this virtual service opportunity!
Requirement Details
Wondering if you should register to volunteer? Based on the CDC guidelines, we are asking you the following questions:
  1. Have you been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19? See the CDC’s risk assessment guidance.

  2. Do you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19? Symptoms can include a cough or shortness of breath or at least two of the following: Fever, Chills, Repeated shaking with chills, Muscle pain, Headache, Sore throat, New loss of taste or smell. See the CDC’s symptom information.

If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, we ask you not to register. We are doing all we can to align with best practices and keep our community healthy.
4 Positions Filled | 2 Impacts | 1 Hours