INCLINE VILLAGE (CBS/AP) — Researchers at Lake Tahoe are enlisting local residents, tourists and other beach-goers to record their observations and photographs on a new smartphone app to help scientists better understand the lake’s environmental conditions.

The University of California, Davis’ Tahoe Environmental Research Center recently launched the app, called Citizen Science Tahoe.

Users are asked to enter what they see at the beach, from algae to wildlife. Each observation automatically records the user’s location, date and time.

Research center director Geoff Schladow says the perceptual data will give researchers a better understanding of Tahoe’s fragile areas close to the shoreline.

He says that’s the part of the lake people experience the most, but surprisingly, scientists know the least about it.

The app is available for download at CitizenScienceTahoe.org.

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