classifying the ocean bottom
September 14, 2012 3:14 PM   Subscribe

The makers of Galaxy Zoo are not satisfied with classifying the cold depths of space. They also want to classify the slightly less cold depths of the ocean, with Seafloor Explorer, where anyone and everyone can help find and identify scallops, sea stars, crustaceans, and Other on various parts of the Atlantic ocean floor. Rarely there are fish. Often, there is sand. It seems to go on forever and often is full of starfish.

GalaxyZoo, previously and previouslier, is well known on the Blue.

All of these are part of the Zooniverse collection of crowdsourced scientific identification sites, so if sand and clams aren't your thing, one of their other projects might be.

There is, however, no "Your mom" classification for miscellaneous oceanic lifeforms.
posted by cmyk (13 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite
and if that floats your boat, one of my good friends at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute recently released an upgraded Imaging Flow Cytobot which brings in images of plankton-scale creatures in the ocean for your delectation and appraisal.
posted by felix at 3:37 PM on September 14, 2012 [2 favorites]

Wow, that IFCB is pretty neat. Yea science!
posted by foonly at 3:46 PM on September 14, 2012

But I'm right here.
posted by The Whelk at 3:49 PM on September 14, 2012 [4 favorites]

Oh my god this is so fun I found a hermit crab
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:51 PM on September 14, 2012

Ok I just tagged 37 scallops in a single photo, that is too many scallops
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:13 PM on September 14, 2012

I just got 7 starfish, fun.
posted by wigner3j at 4:23 PM on September 14, 2012

That is so cool. I did the tutorial and classified some ocean floor. It was fun! I think this is going to become my go-to mental break from work. Soothing AND helpful to science! Win-win.

PS Great first post! (Just saw your comment in MetaTalk.)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:44 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Awesome! And it's SCIENCE!!
posted by SweetTeaAndABiscuit at 5:34 PM on September 14, 2012

Mmmmm, science.
posted by theredpen at 6:05 PM on September 14, 2012

Ok I just tagged 37 scallops in a single photo, that is too many scallops

Not on my dinner plate it's not.
posted by kiltedtaco at 6:45 PM on September 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

Well if J.B.S. Haldane is right and God has "An inordinate fondness for beetles", then I guess we found out Poseidon really has a hardon for starfish.

I'll try this out if nothing else for the chance of finding the source of the Bloop or R'lyeh or perhaps both at the same time.
posted by dragoon at 6:51 PM on September 14, 2012


his name is stanley

we are best frands
posted by elizardbits at 6:53 PM on September 15, 2012

The website is kind of coy about what the data will be used for- the short answer is fishing. From the forums:

Mapping where all these scallops are, I'm wondering - is all this data going to trawling fleets? Just asking!

nhv (project team):
good question

short term maybe but more like the scallop resource allocators

sgallager (project team):
Our intent is to develop the most scientifically sound estimates of sea scallop and other commercially important species abundances to enable NOAA and the Newengland Fisheries Management Council can make the best informed decisions for rotationally manageing the 9 or so regions along the northeast shelf. As part of managing commercially important stocks, we need to know more about how these organisms live within their own local ecosystem and relate to the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of their habitat. This includes processes going on in the water column such as temperature and food (chlorophyll). That is the major goal of this wide scale project.
posted by zamboni at 12:51 PM on September 19, 2012

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