Are you ready for an ocean adventure? | Citizen Science

We’re on the road to Lyme Regis in Dorset for the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival, taking place in the town centre from Friday 28 to Sunday 30 April (it’ll be the fifth time I’ve worked at the festival and it’s always brilliant fun!).

Photo looking out to sea from the beach near Lyme Regis. Rocks are visible between the photographer and the sea and a grey, cloudy sky at top.

The fossil-rich coast at Lyme Regis

With a theme of ‘Time, Tide and Tectonics’, this year’s festival is celebrating everything to do with the sea and how our watery planet has changed (and it still changing) over time.

Whether you can join us in Lyme Regis or not, take a look at this fun oceans flowchart I made with my colleagues Vicki Shennan and Stuart Woolfe. As long as you can answer an enthusiastic ‘Yes!!’ to Question 1 ‘Are you ready for an adventure?’ then it’ll lead you towards one of the many projects the Museum is running this year as part of our own celebration of oceans. We hope you will get involved in our year-long exploration of the marine world!

Image of a flowchart showing how you can participate in citizen science projects at the Museum

Download the PDF of the ocean activities chart above.

Here at the Museum, this summer an enormous blue whale skeleton will be hung from the ceiling of our central Hintze Hall and at the same time our temporary exhibition Whales: Beneath the Surface will open too.

Farther afield, in fact anywhere around the UK coast, you can go rockpooling for research. By taking photos of seaweeds and submitting them to the Big Seaweed Search, you can help Museum researcher Juliet Brodie to better understand how sea temperature rise and other changes are affecting our beautiful seas. Pick up a free Big Seaweed Search guide at the festival, request one by emailing your name and postal address to seaweeds@nhm.ac.uk, or download and print your own to find out how to take part.

For those days when a trip to the beach just isn’t on the cards, you can delve into the Museum’s collection of tiny marine fossils called ‘Forams’ (officially they’re called ‘Foraminifera’ but that’s a bit of a mouthful) and work alongside our curators Giles Miller and Steve Stukins to document Museum specimens online through the Miniature Fossils Magnified project. Forams are some of the world’s smallest fossils and these particular ones lived in shallow tropical seas from several hundred million years ago to the present day. The fossils are embedded in rocks that are then cut into extremely thin slices and mounted on microscope slides. With handwritten or old typewritten labels, we need human eyes to read the labels and type up the information to make it searchable and usable for our curators, researchers and people all over the globe who want to use our collections.

Whichever project piques your interest, I hope the flowchart leads you to take part in one of our ocean activities this bank holiday weekend.

I hope to see some of you down in Lyme Regis too! We’ll be based in The Hub on Church Street all weekend.

Have a great bank holiday weekend!