Deep Sea Spy: citizens are screening the deep

Since 2017, the citizen science platform for online image annotations, « Deep Sea Spy» provides a means for all citizens to help us annotate the 400 hours of video sequences recorded with the TEMPO observation module deployed on the EMSO-Azores observatory.

 Since 2010, the ecological observation module TEMPO (composed by a camera, an iron analyser and an oxygen probe), deployed at the base of the hydrothermal Eiffel Tower edifice records 8 minutes of video sequence daily of a faunal assemblage dominated by the symbiotic mussel Bathymodiolus azoricus. The analyses of this imagery dataset allow to better understand the natural dynamics of the animal communities associated with these ecosystems in order to assess the impact of climate change and/or human activities on these communities as well as their resilience. These images hold valuable information on growth, biotic interactions, behavior and factors driving species distribution at micro-scales (cm²). This information is acquired by manually processing the images on a computer. This work is long and tedious when considering that almost 400 hours of video sequences have been accumulated. The « Deep Sea Spy » project provides a means for all citizens to contribute to image annotations. Today, the 1200 active participants annotated more than 44 000 images and 425 000 animals!  Preliminary analyses are ongoing and will eventually help to develop Artificial Intelligence algorithms to automatically detect species by machine learning.

« Deep Sea Spy » is not only an online application, but also offers a set of educational resources including booklets to accompany teachers of kids between 3 and 12 years old. Project members already gave several lectures in Britany classes to share knowledge on the deep-sea and encourage kids to become the future explorers of the planet.

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