Citclops: A next-generation sensor system for the monitoring of natural waters and a citizens' observatory for the assessment of ecosystems' status

PLoS One. 2020 Mar 26;15(3):e0230084. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0230084. eCollection 2020.


The European-Commission-funded project 'Citclops' (Citizens' observatory for coast and ocean optical monitoring) developed methods, tools and sensors, which can be used by citizens to monitor natural waters, with a strong focus on long-term data series related to environmental sciences. The new sensors, based on optical technologies, respond to a number of scientific, technical and societal objectives, ranging from more precise monitoring of key environmental descriptors of the aquatic environment (water colour, transparency and fluorescence) to an improved management of data collected with citizen participation. The sensors were tested, calibrated, integrated on several platforms, scientifically validated and demonstrated in the field. The new methods and tools were tested in a citizen-science context. The general conclusion is that citizens are valuable contributors in quality and quantity to the objective of collecting, integrating and analysing fragmented and diverse environmental data. An integration of these data into data-analysis tools has a large potential to support authoritative monitoring and decision-making. In this paper, the project's objectives, results, technical achievements and lessons learned are presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Citizen Science / statistics & numerical data*
  • Community Participation*
  • Decision Making*
  • Ecosystem*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Humans

Grant support

The funders of this study provided support in the form of salaries for authors LC, JP, MRW, OZ, JAB, HVDW, RB, AF, SN, PT, FV, MB, KD, but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The specific roles of these authors are articulated in the ‘author contributions’ section. More specifically, all authors (LC, JP, MRW, OZ, JAB, HVDW, RB, AF, SN, PT, FV, MB, KD) received funding from the European Union’s FP7 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 308469 'Citclops'. LC received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreements No 824711 'MICS' and No 824580 'EU-Citizen.Science'. The opinions expressed in this study are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Citclops, MICS or EU-Citizen.Science partners, or the European Commission.