The vision of the OTTERS project (Social Transformation for Water Stewardship through Scaling Up Citizen Science) is to demonstrate the effective embedding of citizen science in initiatives seeking societal transformation for sustainable marine and freshwater ecosystems. OTTERS wishes to not only generate data but to also, through citizen science, contribute to changing hearts and minds, increasing care for marine and freshwater ecosystems and fostering a sense of agency, leading to the contribution of healthy ecosystems.
OTTERS aims to promote and scale up successful citizen science (CS) initiatives in the marine and freshwater
1) accelerating the co-creation of standards in data collection, semantics, data quality, and data management
making sure to abide by all ethical and legal standards;
2) promoting and scaling up successful water-related CS
initiatives by clustering them under co-designed Spring-to-Sea campaigns to foster agency and increase ocean literacy;
3) connecting the citizen-generated data to other EU-funded projects and portals, including the European Marine
Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) and Digital Twins of the Ocean (ILIAD) to ensure the accessibility and
reuse of the data and abide by all FAIR principles;
4) demonstrating the effectiveness of citizen science in participatory research, environmental monitoring and changing people’s behaviors to ensure the sustainability of water ecosystems and reach the goals of the EU Water Framework Directive and UN Decade of the Ocean.
The expected outcomes of the project are:
- Clustering initiatives and adoption of new standards co- created in-project for the generation and collection of reliable citizen science data.
- Preparation and promotion of toolkits and digital applications to aid in monitoring for the requirements of the WFD and MSFD.
- Scaled up collection of real-time recordings to be potentially fed into ILIAD, EMODnet, BioFresh, MAES, WISE Freshwater, Marinomica and GLEON? and made publicly available through these platforms.
- Increased knowledge and care for healthy freshwater and marine ecosystems among participants of project pilots through the use of social narratives, measured quantitatively by attendance and participation, as well as qualitatively by questionnaires.
- Increased understanding on the effectiveness of citizen science in participatory research, innovation, and education and on the behaviour of citizens regarding water use.
- Integration and use of guidelines for marine and freshwater stewardship campaigns through EU policies and programs; including input from project assessments.
- Enhance science-policy dialogue based on citizen input and engagement.
Funding bodies: European Commission