Animals with patterned features can often be identified uniquely, such as by the distinctive shape of their fin or fluke coloration. By taking a picture, you can match that pattern to others already in the database. Your animal might be new to the database, or it might be a new sighting of one we have seen before!
You can upload files from your computer, or take them directly from your Flickr or Facebook account. Be sure to enter when and where you saw the animal, and add other information, such as species or sex, if you can. You will receive email updates when your animal is processed.
When you submit an identification photo, a local researcher receives a notification. This researcher will double check that the information you submitted is correct (so don't worry if you are unsure about which species you saw!).
Once a researcher is happy with all the data accompanying the identification photo, they will look for a photo match, using multiple computer assisted algorithms and machine learning. It's like facial recognition software for animals.
400 identified sharks
862 reported sightings
44 citizen scientists
19 researchers and volunteers