Research Opportunities

Citizen science expeditions offer an opportunity for vessel owners to get involved in smaller-scale marine research initiatives. These expeditions do not require scientists to be aboard, but they permit vessel owners and crew to participate in ongoing research projects which depend on the participation of non-scientists within the community.

A variety of opportunities for instrument deployment, data collection, and water sampling are available. As new technologies emerge to transition vessels from motor yachts to cleaner energy sources, we are encouraging yacht owners to practice responsible measures in protecting our oceans and provide, “The Green Guide to Boating” as part of our Green Marine Program. We look forward to the day when all boats are either solar powered or have a battery capacity that will allow them to be a viable alternative to fossil fuels.

Citizen Science Initiatives


Neuston Net Research Collective

The Neuston Net Research Collective unites the academic world and the international yachting community in an effort to conserve and understand our oceans through scientific research. This unique collective spans a wide range of research topics with one common theme: they all utilize Neuston Nets. Neuston Nets are fine mesh nets often towed behind boats to collect samples of neustonic organisms, algae, plastics, plankton, seawater, and more. Our unique access to these nets allows us to pair proposed or ongoing projects with vessels around the world to collect samples from a wide geographic range.

This program engages the yachting community by providing comprehensive onboard kits which allow yacht crews and owners to tow nets that are designed to collect plankton, seaweed, and small organisms at the ocean surface. Learn more about our current projects by browsing below.

Find out if you can participate in our Neuston Net Research Collective by clicking the button below and contacting our team at [email protected].


Seabed 2030 Project

As part of the effort to map the world ocean by 2030, the Seabed 2030 project, along with the IHO Data Center for Digital Bathymetry (DCDB) at the National Centers for Environmental Information, Boulder, have collaborated to provide and manage small hardware data loggers that are used to collect bathymetric data from volunteer observers. The project was launched at the United Nations (UN) Ocean Conference in June 2017 and is aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal #14 to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources.

This information can help identify uncharted features such as seamounts and canyons, verify charted information and help fill the spaces on charts where no data exists. Routinely measured parameters such as under keel depth and position can then be stored, uploaded, and contributed to local and global mapping initiatives. Find out if you can participate in our Seabed 2030 Program by clicking the button below and contacting our team at [email protected].


National Oceanography Centre SubCTech Microplastic Sampling

The microplastic research group at NOC are tackling some of the crucial questions pertaining to microplastics in the ocean, including their fate, distribution in the ocean, and their ecological effects. There is a critical need to understand the extent and characteristics of this contamination, down to the smallest sizes possible, because the smaller the particle, the higher the risk to ecosystems and humans. By installing a SubCtech microplastic sampler onboard that will automatically collect and filter samples, citizen scientists provide access to regions and data that would not otherwise be obtained.



Tracking White Sharks with Environmental DNA

Great white sharks are an important species within marine ecosystems, serving as top predators and keeping the population of other organisms in balance. While large in size, these sharks can be rather elusive thanks to their ability to live entirely below the water’s surface, often time traveling to great depths. Researchers at Virginia Tech University believe that these sharks may exist in distinct populations which are rarely seen by humans, and are using cutting age technology to discovery more about where they are located. By joining this project, you, too, can put on your scientist gloves and try your hand at sampling DNA from the water column.

Active Citizen Science DISCOVERY Vessels


Ongoing Projects

Explore our ongoing projects in the gallery below. Click each tile to learn about the project participant and the work they are achieving through the Neuston Net Research Collective or the Seabed 2030 Project.

Use the arrows to scroll through our latest programs

Past Projects

These specific projects are no longer active. However, citizen science initiatives continue to grow, with many new initiatives and opportunities emerging. As technologies continue to evolve, there are also increasing opportunities for boaters to practice responsible measures in protecting our oceans and contributing to our understanding of the marine ecosystem.

Instrument Deployments

The International SeaKeepers Society works with a number of institutions, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and Argo to make ongoing oceanographic measurements. The collection of consistent and accurate data is extremely important for oil spill and marine debris accumulation analyses, weather and hurricane prediction models, quality control tests on satellites, and an overall better understanding of the marine environment. It is vital that the global instrument arrays are well distributed; private vessels can achieve this along routes that are not typically traveled. Currently, The International SeaKeepers Society employs the use of two types of devices — SeaKeepers Drifters and Argo Floats. These instruments have been designed to be scientifically productive and efficient while minimally invasive to the environment.

SeaKeepers has also partnered with Florida International University’s Global FinPrint, a Paul G. Allen initiative, which is conducting the first global survey of shark and ray populations with the use of baited remote underwater video (BRUV) surveys. SeaKeepers vessels can support the effort by deploying the BRUV rigs at coral reef locations around the world. Each rig is minimally invasive and includes an underwater camera and attached bait box. Marine organisms are attracted to the bait and are then filmed. Researchers review the footage to obtain important information about the populations of these globally threatened species, in order to drive shark and ray conservation through research and policy. Areas of particular interest include the Dry Tortugas, Indonesia, and French Polynesia.

Use the arrows to scroll through our latest programs

Marine Debris Tracker: An Open Data Citizen Scientist Movement

Marine Debris Tracker is designed to help citizen scientists make a difference by contributing data on plastic pollution in your community or at sea. Every day, dedicated educational, non-profit, and scientific organizations, and passionate citizen scientists from around the world record data on inland and marine debris with this easy-to-use app, contributing to an open data platform and scientific research.

Marine Debris Tracker was developed by the University of Georgia’s Jambeck Research Group, which SeaKeepers worked with in 2021 when the Jambeck Research Group collaborated with Ocean Conservancy to assess Miami’s plastic waste management, known as a Circularity Assessment Protocol. SeaKeepers is incorporating this app at our cleanups to continue our mission of coastal education, protection, and restoration.

Research Project Application

Are you looking to apply for a research project? The International SeaKeepers Society has been involved in assisting significant marine research and ocean conservation efforts through the DISCOVERY Yacht Program since 2014. We are seeking dedicated researchers to provide free vessel support to gather and conduct fieldwork. For each expedition, a scientist is paired with a vessel that can meet the research expedition’s needs, including location, itinerary, and vessel specifications as outlined in the research proposal. To submit a proposal on your next expedition needs, complete the application below.