When a seabird stops: the citizen science of COASST
Looking at dead bird carcasses may not be everyone's idea of a fun day at the beach, but it's important work. It gives scientists information about the numbers of seabirds dying, why they are dying, and now the numbers change from year to year.
It is the main task of the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team, which bears the delightful acronym of COASST.
After more than two decades on the job, COASST has expanded from five beaches in Washington to more than 400 arrayed from Alaska to Northern California.
New citizen scientists are being trained all the time; COASST founder and Executive Director Julia Parrish explains what's involved, and how surveys are used.