Giant deep sea roly polys? Yeah, there’s an app for that. From colorful sea anemones to great white sharks to phytoplankton, some institutions and organizations are developing some pretty cool apps for those of us who can’t get enough of the ocean and the amazing organisms inside it.
Tidepooling is so fun. And it just got better! Use this app anytime you’re wandering through the intertidal zone and are curious about a creature you encounter.
This app is for those interested in distinguishing dolphins and other marine mammals in the wild. Did that dolphin surface at 15-20 second intervals? What kind of dolphins are in this area, this time of year? And what’s up with those stripes on the side of it’s body? (note: this app is currently for the Southeast Region of the U.S.)
I needed this app a few weeks ago when I saw my first Risso’s Dolphin! Also known as the gray grampus…apparently.
Phytoplankton: they’re gorgeous, microscopic, and critical to life on earth. Whenever you need a break from the popular kids in the ocean, use this app to scroll through these photosynthesizing superstars and learn how to pronounce their names. There’s even a flash card-esqe game to test your new knowledge.
I personally love seahorses, so this app makes me happy, especially since it’s half informational, and half citizen science. You can look at pictures, and find a description in the seahorse guide, or you can ‘add an observation,’ just in case you’re lucky enough to see a seahorse in the wild. If you do, you can share details about what kind of seahorse you saw, where you saw it, and what it was up to when you observed it.
Use this app to learn about critters found in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, from birds and mammals, to fish, invertebrates, and algae.
Need offline access to all those marine biology terms you know you know, but can’t always remember? This app is for you. For example, convergent evolution: The development of similar structures in organism that do not share recent common ancestors (e.g. Eyes of squid and humans).
Feel like escaping to the underwater world off the coast of New Zealand, but can’t hop on a plane? Browse through the 260+ species featured on this app to get your fix.
8: DEEP SEA ID
For those times you need the weirdness that is deep sea ocean life at your fingertips. It takes a little exploring to figure out, but it’s worth it.
This app is a little more terrestrial but lets you track and share wildlife sightings, similar to iSeahorse. It also has an interesting selection of guides. Learn about bats of South Dakota or common California lichens while waiting for your next dentist appointment.
The idea is cool: Enter in what trash you’re collecting and where you found it. But it’s probably best for those larger items that can’t be moved, since entering in 75 plastic bags seems a bit tedious. The website is worth checking out and it’s exciting to see this type of initiative raise awareness about marine debris.
Willing to Pay?
1. EXPEDITION WHITE SHARK ($3.99)
Track adult great white sharks in real time. Cause you know, sharks are awesome. At this very moment, I can see where ‘Gill Racker’ a 17-foot female white shark is cruising along. How cool is that?!
2. THE WHALE SONG PROJECT ($1.99)
Nothing like the lovely tune of a whale talking to help you study. Or sleep. Or dance? Off the coast of Maui there’s an underwater mic that picks up whale songs as they migrate past. So from November to June, you can hear LIVE whales!
If you live in California, or are taking a trip there, this would be worth having so you can learn about different sanctuaries.
Looking for more? NOAA has a great list of marine and coastal apps here and there’s a fun and free eBook on Itunes that just came out, One Ocean. It has lots of useful ocean info. Let me know if I missed your favorite app. (Word on the street is there’s a kelp app coming out soon!)