You don’t have to know much about what you’re seeing to make the Ocean Alert app work. Say you’re driving past Turnagain Arm and you see a beluga.
“You can say, ‘I saw a whale.’ Not have to know what species it is or anything like that," said Jacob Levenson, a biologist with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. “Or you can say, ‘I saw this whale, here’s a picture of its tail,’ and then there’s an artificial intelligence backend, Flukebook, that tells you if we’ve seen that whale before.”
Levenson and other BOEM scientists are using the new Ocean Alert app to crowdsource sightings of marine megafauna that will inform the agency’s work in federal waters.