CitSciMonth: Project Design Teams

Throughout April, we will be sharing a series of blogs highlighting the people who power the Council's Citizen Science Program


When developing citizen projects, the Council encourages the use of Project Design Teams. These teams are made up of diverse groups of people with varying expertise who work together to develop projects. This collaboration not only builds stronger projects, it also helps build relationships between team members.


SAFMC Release Project Design Team

Members of the SAFMC Release Project Design Team included an assessment scientist, an outreach specialist, a fisherman, software developers, a data management expert, citizen science experts, and Council staff. This group worked together to design a project to collect data on released Scamp Grouper - including the design and development of the SAFMC Release mobile app. Scientists helped make sure the data collected would fill critical data gaps and fishermen helped keep the project grounded in reality. The project benefited from working with the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP) and Harbor Light Software - groups with proven data management and software development expertise. This collaborative effort helped to develop a simple, easy to use app focused on key data fields needed for stock assessment.  Meet the design team members below and visit to learn more about the project.


SAFMC Release Design Team Members

Name Organization
Scott Baker NC Sea Grant
John Carmichael SAFMC staff
Chip Collier SAFMC staff
Fran Karp Harbor Light Software
Ira Laks SAFMC Mackerel Cobia AP
Joe Myers ACCSP
Erik Williams SEFSC - Beaufort
Amber VonHarten SAFMC staff
Julia Byrd SAFMC Staff
Rick Bonney, advisor Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Jennifer Shirk, advisor Citizen Science Association


SAFMC FISHstory Project Design Team

The FISHstory Design Team included educators, fisheries scientists, a fisherman, a social scientist, and SAFMC staff. This group worked together to develop the FISHstory project which uses historic fishing photos to document catch and length composition data in the for-hire fisheries prior to when dedicated catch monitoring began in the 1970s. Rusty Hudson, the photo provider, shared a wealth of information about the photos including where the captains were fishing, fishing techniques, and which species they caught frequently. The team worked to develop the FISHStory project within Zooniverse, an online crowdsourcing platform. Thanks to many team members’ fish ID expertise - we were able to develop thorough training materials to teach citizen scientists to identify and count fish within the photos. We were also lucky to have a team member with experience volunteering for Zooniverse projects who provided insights on how to develop workflows for the Zooniverse audience. Members’ analytical expertise proved critical in helping to develop a method to estimate the size of fish in the photos.  Thanks to the team’s diverse expertise we were able to develop a successful project. We’ve seen over 2,000 volunteers participate through Zooniverse and the method used to estimate fish length was favorably reviewed by the SAFMC’s Scientific & Statistical Committee in October 2020.  


Name Organization
Ken Brennan SEFSC - Beaufort
Erin Burge Coastal Carolina University
Chip Collier SAFMC staff
Rusty Hudson SAFMC Snapper Grouper & Mackerel Cobia AP
Laura Oremland NOAA Fisheries
Brad Teer SEFSC - Beaufort
Tracey Smart SCDNR
Tracey Yandle SAFMC SSC / SEP
Julia Byrd SAFMC staff
Allie Iberle SAFMC staff
Mike Errigo Former SAFMC Staff