BIOAPP: Revolutionizing Marine Life Observation

The computer revolution has spanned many fields in recent years, not the least of which is marine biology and ocean-related technologies.

Blaise Barrette has been at the forefront of the field in developing a web-based interface which allows SCUBA divers to report various types of marine life they see while diving into a database which tracks marine life by species.

BIOAPP is just such an application, invented and developed by Blaise Barrette and is used by various groups and organizations, such as the Underwater Observers Network, set up by Blaise himself and François Hazel, a marine biologist who has worked in the department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Science, Ocean Management, Fish Habitat Protection), as well as by Jeffrey Gallant, founder of The Shark Observation Network (www.sharksonline.net), a partnership of the Greenland Shark and Elasmobranch Education and Research Group (GEERG), the Shark Research Institute (SRI Canada).

Professional diver; naturalist; consultant on aquatic ecosystems, member of the GEERG science committee; cinematographer; web developer; co-founder of Les Productions un Monde à Part Inc. with Luc Gagnon which specializes in underwater imagery, Blaise Barrette has been diving for many years and this type of project is his ‘calling.’

The way it works is, when a diver returns from a dive, he or she can simply create a user name and password on the Underwater Observers Network or the Shark Observation Network and enter the type of marine life or shark they saw during their dive.

The diver can select from a drop-down list of species on either of the two websites and there is room to enter comments and/or upload photos taken on the dive.

On either site, there is an integrated Google maps, where divers can select the exact location where they saw a type of marine life or shark. A validation system ensures that the fields are filled in correctly before submitting the form.

For demonstration videos on how this works, see: http://www.bioapp.net/en/description.php

Below is a comment about BIOAPP from François Hazel

President, Underwater Observers Network:

The Underwater observers network is a non-profit organization dedicated to help protecting our aquatic environments. It has been online since may 2008.

“The BIOAPP is a fantastic tool for anyone who wants to set up and manage a network of monitoring or surveillance. Its use is simple and easy and allows anyone who, like me, have no programming knowledge, to not only manage a website but expand it, modify it and adjust it according to their needs. We were able, when the Underwater Observers Network decided to integrate the ability to report observations in fresh water (only those in the marine environment were then possible), to do it in less than an hour’s work. The Result is most professional, and we have so far had nothing but praise about the usability of our website by our members. This success is due to BIOAPP..”

François Hazel

President, Underwater Observers Network

www.rosm.ca