MEEMO: Keep, expand and explore the MONICET platform of cetacean watching. An opportunity for science, public policies and companies

PROJECT TITLE:

MEEMO: Keep, expand and explore the MONICET platform of cetacean watching. An opportunity for science, public policies and companies.

PROJECT CODE:

ACORES-01-0145-FEDER-000079

 

MAIN GOAL:

The MONICET platform, in operation since 2019, is the only example of a collaborative and open system to collect sightings and photographs made by cetacean watching companies. The project will leverage the scientific, economic and civic interest of the platform by, respectively, analyzing long term ecological data series, developing a data collection mobile app, and provide a collaborative photo-id tool. This will raise world awareness to the cetacean watching activity in the Azores.

 

BENEFICIARIES: Fundação Gaspar Frutuoso / Universidade dos Açores

TOTAL AMOUNT: 179.789,80€

EUROPEAN REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUND: 152.821,33€

DESCRIPTION:

The project has two main objectives.

1. Improve the relevance of the MONICET platform for scientific research on cetacean ecology and as a monitoring tool for decision-making. This will be done by developing the mathematical tools to analyze temporal trends of cetacean occurrence in the Azores in relation to oceanographic, atmospheric and anthropogenic variables, including the assessment of the spatial scale that maximize their effect.

2. Increase company participation in MONICET by adding value to this collaborative platform. This will be achieved through a combination of updated technology and valued-added services. The technological infrastructure will be rebuilt to the highest standards of compatibility with future developments, while maintaining its open source basis. An App will facilitate data collection while also providing a link with social media so that clients can share their experience. The photo-identification module will be streamlined and granted a collaborative interface. Finally, an API will make it easy for companies and third parties to develop applications that use the database to provide services for customers and the public.

RESULTS:

The most visible result is going to be the full renewal of the website. There will be a modern interface to the public, promoting the interaction with the data. But the main changes will be on the back office. The first main achievement will be a mobile app to automatically collect the data, which will greatly simplify that work. The access to the database via an API will allow the companies to develop their own uses of the data, for instance to improve customer experience. Finally, the improved photo-ID interface will facilitate the cataloguing work and the interaction with the public and experts. Three MONICET Spring workshops are planned, to ensure knowledge exchange between researchers and the participating companies.

The publication of a paper on statistical modelling of cetacean temporal trends and a data paper on the MONICET platform are expected, and the promotion of a session/webinar on long-term data series in cetacean studies is planned.

 

PHOTOGRAPHS: