The first component is a volunteer diver education and outreach model that provides divers with identification training for target species of concern and introduces them to a new online marine invasive species reporting system. Through this system, known as the MIT Sea Grant/Massachusetts Bay Program Marine Invader Tracking Information System (MITIS) divers can track and report sightings of ten target species identified as current threats (below), and of two additional species of special concern for potential new invasions.
Volunteer Diver Monitoring
During the second component of the project, volunteer science divers developed and tested a scientific diving protocol for marine invasive species surveys in near shore marine waters.
The protocol is intended to be a simple, scientifically-valid methodology for measuring and monitoring the presence and abundance of target invasive species. It may ultimately be used for two purposes:
To verify and quantify informal reports of target invasive species sightings (such as those gathered by divers participating in the first component of this program)
As a regional standard methodology for monitoring areas of concern to provide local, state, and national coastal resource managers with information on location, abundance, and changes in marine invasive species populations over time. During the protocol development, volunteer science divers focused their efforts on the three easily identified species, Didemnum vexillum, Codium fragile ssp. tomentosoides, and Botrylloides violaceus.