Citizen Science Opportunities

Be a citizen scientist! See below for information on how you can get involved with two of our ongoing research projects - Horseshoe Crab Tagging and FrogWatch USA.

Frog Watch USA

“FrogWatch USA” is a nationwide citizen-scientist program that provides individuals, families and groups with opportunities to learn about wetlands in their communities by reporting on the calls of local frogs and toads. Observations are reported to a national online database to contribute to amphibian-conservation efforts. “FrogWatch USA” has chapters all across America, hosted by zoos, aquariums, nature centers and other organizations accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA).

Our chapter is a collaboration between The Maritime Aquarium, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo and Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History to monitor area frog populations.               

We are currently seeking volunteers willing to make regular visits to a wetlands in their neighborhood where frogs typically can be heard calling.

“FrogWatch” volunteers will visit their wetlands once or twice a week for about 15 minutes this spring and summer, beginning each night a half-hour after sunset. (Kids can help, but older children are recommended because, in summer, a half-hour after sunset can be after 9 p.m.)

You don’t have to know anything about frogs to sign up. Learn about our native species – and what will be asked of volunteers – during upcoming training sessions. The trainings are free to members of the three organizations, or $10 for non-member families. (You only need to attend one - Pre-registration is required at least one week before your desired session.) Choose from:

Friday, February 15, 2019, 7-9 p.m.
SNOW DATE: Saturday, February 16, 2019, 2 - 4 p.m.
David Friend Hall, Yale Peabody Museum
Register Here
Saturday, March 2, 2019, 2-4 p.m.
SNOW DATE: Wednesday, March 6, 7 -9 p.m.
Third-floor classroom, The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk
Register Here
Friday, March 8, 2019, 7-9 p.m.
SNOW DATE: Saturday, March 8, 2 - 4 p.m.
Hanson Exploration Station, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo
Register Here
Friday, March 22, 2019,  7-9 p.m.
SNOW DATE: Saturday, March 23, 2 - 4 p.m.
CT Audubon Center at Glastonbury
Register Here


Project Limulus (Horseshoe Crab Tagging)

This tag-and-release research/education project focuses on the population ecology of the horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) in Long Island Sound.

Jennifer Mattei of Sacred Heart University's Biology Department is the principle investigator of this long-term community-wide research project. The Maritime Aquarium participates by tagging and collecting data on horseshoe crabs encountered during field studies with students and study cruises with school groups and the public.

One reason for the study: survival of migratory shorebirds has been linked to the horseshoe crab's breeding season. Each spring, migrating shorebirds consume horseshoe crab eggs, helping to fuel their long trip north to breed. In addition, the federally protected loggerhead sea turtle also depends on horseshoe crabs for food.

Horseshoe crabs are important to us because of a component in their blood that is used to detect bacterial contamination in manufactured drugs and other pharmaceutical products. Thus, the crabs are commercially harvested for this reason ... and also for use in eel pots by fishermen.

By understanding the population dynamics of this species, we will be better able to manage their harvest and prevent their extinction.

Other participants include Project Oceanology in Groton, Soundwaters in Stamford, the Bridgeport Aquaculture School, the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven, and the Connecticut Audubon Coastal Center in Milford.

Spring 2019 TagginG

Keep an eye on this page for Spring 2019 volunteer training information! 

Horseshoe crabs come up onto beaches to spawn on the nights of the full and new moons in spring. That’s a tagging bonanza time for researchers, so extra volunteers are needed to help. Volunteers should be in 10th grade or older. Younger children can assist if working with a parent, teacher or guardian. Tagging sessions at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk will be held on selected early mornings and late nights in late May, June and July.


Our Mission

Mission: The Maritime Aquarium inspires people of all ages to appreciate and protect the Long Island Sound ecosystem and the global environment through living exhibits, marine science, and environmental education.

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Phone: (203) 852-0700

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Norwalk, CT 06854

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