The NCCOS Phytoplankton Monitoring Network (PMN) program recently trained volunteers from Georgia in harmful algal bloom and marine debris monitoring. Volunteers from Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary, Burton 4-H, and the University of Georgia's Marine Extension Service received instruction on target phytoplankton species for change detection, as well as how to identify microplastics in phytoplankton net samples. These data will be tracked using PMN's Web-based map service.
Also, with assistance from NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration, the PMN program now has a pilot study to collect marine debris data using the Marine Debris Tracker smartphone application. This simple tool allows volunteers to report and record the type and location of debris through GPS features pre-installed on a smartphone. Data submitted are posted on an interactive website that allows data to be viewed and downloaded for users to design plans to prevent marine debris.