Citizen science is the collection and analysis of data relating to the natural world by members of the general public, typically as part of a collaborative project with professional scientists.
It is important for a region where data and resources are limited (funding, human capacity, time, etc). Benefits are public awareness, informed advocacy, cooperative policy development and implementation, while some challenges may be logistical issues (human spend more time on land than water), costs/access of equipment or access to area of interest due to traditional ownership.
Here is an article on citizen science benefits for coral reef restoration activities. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1617138117301504
Corals outplanted by RAR participants showed the same survivorship as those outplanted by scientific experts. The direct benefits of using citizen scientists for restoration are enhanced when the educational opportunities offered by these expeditions are considered.
Here are some examples of coral reef citizen science programs:
CoralWatch - coral health monitoring programme
Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) - fish monitoring programme for SCUBA divers
Reef Check - coral reef surveying programme
Dive Against Debris, Project AWARE - Project AWARE develops actions under our Clean Ocean and Healthy Ocean programs each year. In 2018, Project AWARE will be supporting the community and advancing policies on Plastic Debris and Sharks & Rays.