Citizen Science

In citizen science, citizens and researchers work hand in hand to collect data. For coastal and marine research, this is particularly useful because the scope of work is very large and much more information can be collected this way. An additional advantage is that public involvement increases. In Belgium, VLIZ is a pioneer and leader in marine and coastal citizen science.

What research is VLIZ conducting with the help of the general public?

'SeaWatch-B' about twenty citizens measure the condition of the shallow Belgian North Sea coast in a comparable and multifaceted way

the 'Great Shell Day', an annual event where citizens collect, count and identify tens of thousands of beach shells, assisted by experts. Those interested can subscribe to the newsletter to be kept informed of the next edition. 

'CoastSnap-Belgium', a program that encourages people to photograph changes on the beach with their smartphones, helping to understand and manage our dynamic coastline. 

Recreational Sea Fishing, an initiative in which recreational sea anglers participate in research by sharing their logbook data. 

Plastic Pirates, a project that encourages students to measure trash in rivers.

In 2022, VLIZ and partners organized Zeekerweten, a citizen science festival by and about the sea. 

In addition, VLIZ is also a member of the steering committee of Scivil, the Flemish knowledge center for citizen science, and together with Natuurpunt, runs the Scivil working group on 'Nature & biodiversity'. 

International marine citizen science projects

VLIZ also strengthens citizen science at the international level, through lectures and publications. 

Within the European Prep4Blue project, VLIZ is compiling an inventory of all marine, coastal and river-related citizen science projects in Europe. From this perspective, it makes recommendations for citizen science with healthier seas as its goal. 

VLIZ also partners the COLLECT project, which collects marine litter data on African beaches and trains citizen scientists.  

Open Science

Citizen science is one of the actions mentioned under the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Science and one of the eight ambitions of the EU Open Science Policy. This states that the general public should be able to contribute to sound European research.