Terms of Service

Information about the Research Study

Clemson University


Socio-Ecological Drivers of Anthropogenic Marine Debris Effects on Coral Reef Communities in the Florida Keys, USA





Dr. Michael Childress is inviting you to volunteer for a research study. Dr. Childress is an Associate Professor at Clemson University conducting the study with Tokea Payton a PhD Student at Clemson University.


Study Purpose: Marine debris is manmade items that intentionally and accidentally end up in marine and coastal environments. It is established that marine debris is a worldwide issue. To solve this problem, we must understand what people know about marine debris, how it affects the local area, and what types of debris people are willing to pick up in their day-to-day lives and organized clean-up opportunities. This information will be used to inform educational and outreach tools that may be developed and improve the management of this issue.


Voluntary Consent: Participation is voluntary, and you have the option to not participate. We respect your right to decline at any point while the survey is taking place. While we would love to have you participate, there are no consequences to you if you decide not to participate, and you may do so with no explanation.  


Activities and Procedures:

Trash Tinder Website: Your part in the study will be to take a web application survey that asks you to make some choices about picking up marine debris items. You will choose which types of debris you are most likely to pick up and which ones you would leave. It also asks you to provide some demographic information (your age, gender, level of education, etc.). The collected data will be analyzed for partial fulfillment of a PhD dissertation. 


Optional website survey: Your part in the study will be to take an optional survey presented at the end of the Trash Tinder website. You will be asked additional questions regarding your awareness and relationship with marine debris and general littering and cleaning habits. Collected data will be analyzed for partial fulfillment of a PhD dissertation. 


Interviews: Your part in the study will be to provide information regarding your professional diving experience and your involvement in leading marine debris clean-up activities. Your involvement will include sharing information pertaining to dive site selection, types of debris removed, and rule compliance seen in debris dive volunteers. Interview questions will also ask you to provide some demographic information (your age, gender, level of education, etc.). The collected data will be analyzed for partial fulfillment of a PhD dissertation. 


Pre/Post Dive Briefings: Your part in the study will be to deliver pre- and post- dive briefings to debris dive volunteers regarding debris removal. Your briefing will be recorded as handwritten notes. Your briefing should include debris removal methods.  Any questions regarding clarification of instructions will be asked after each briefing. The collected data will be analyzed for partial fulfillment of a PhD dissertation. 


Participation Time: It will take about 10-15 minutes to complete the website survey and an additional 5-10 minutes to complete the optional survey located on the “Thank You” page of the Trash Tinder website. Interviews with dive shop operators are predicted to range from 15-30 minutes in length.


Risks and Discomforts: There are no foreseen risks associated with taking this study.


Possible Benefits: We are anticipating that this survey will be a pleasant experience and will provide you the opportunity to become more aware of marine debris issues in our oceans. This study also gives you the opportunity to provide information that will influence ocean education and management of marine debris in the region.



While we value everyone’s opinion and participation in helping better understand the marine debris issue, Individuals under 18 years of age will not be considered for the study.



Interview questions will be audio recorded upon consent. Audio recordings will be stored on a password-protected external drive. Audio recordings will not be shared publicly. Audio recordings will be transcribed and de-identified, and recordings will be destroyed. Resulting transcripts will be placed in the primary investigator/supervisor’s care following completion of PhD research. Transcripts will be held for at least 3 years based on federal regulations and destroyed at the primary investigator’s discretion indicated by the completion of the last published paper.



The results of this study may be published in scientific journals, professional publications, or educational presentations. To protect the identity of participants, all information collected will be treated in a confidential manner and identifying information will be removed as soon as possible. No identifiable information will be published or made public. Identifiable information collected during the study will be removed and data resulting from this study will be stored on a password protected hard drive. The de-identified information could be used for future research studies or distributed to another investigator for future research studies without additional informed consent from the participants or legally authorized representatives. 



If you have any questions or concerns about your rights in this research study, please contact the Clemson University Office of Research Compliance (ORC) at 864-656-0636 or irb@clemson.edu. The Clemson IRB will not be able to answer some study-specific questions. However, you may contact the Clemson IRB if the research staff cannot be reached or if you wish to speak with someone other than the research staff.


If you have any study related questions or if any problems arise, please contact Dr. Michael Childress at mchildr@clemson.edu  or Tokea Payton at tpayton@clemson.edu .



By participating in the study, you indicate that you have read the information written above, been allowed to ask any questions, and you are voluntarily choosing to take part in this research. You do not give up any legal rights by taking part in this research study.


Trash Tinder was designed solely for the purposes of academic work and educational outreach. We acknowledge some resemblance to other well known swipe applications and reserve to right to use this resemblance in addition to our original creations for the completion of academic research under  “fair use” Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976 for scholarly works. To learn more about this research please see the information above.