The Acid Horizon Cruise: Expanding scientific outreach by crowd-funding a film project

Monday, 15 December 2014
Erik E Cordes, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, United States
During a cruise in April - May, 2014 on the R/V Atlantis with the DSV Alvin to study ocean acidification in the Gulf of Mexico, we carried out a number of outreach efforts, the most significant of which was filming a documentary. The documentary is about the impact of ocean acidification, but is told as a personal story and extends well beyond the cruise itself. This documentary was an independent effort supported entirely by a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign that ran from Nov - Dec, 2013. The campaign attracted over 200 donors and was ultimately successful in raising the funds necessary to bring the film crew on board. By involving so many people in the funding of the project, we attracted a core audience for the outreach efforts during the cruise. These efforts included daily posts on various social media sites, both personal and scientific, as well as exclusive “sneak peeks” of the film for the Kickstarter backers. In addition, live interactions from the cruise included an interview with public radio from the submersible, and a public seminar from the back deck of the ship. All of these efforts resulted in the development of an audience that remains engaged in the progress of the science and the film, long after the cruise has concluded.