COASST (Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team)
COASST is citizen science project based at the University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences in partnership with local community and environmental organizations, and state and federal agencies.
COASST volunteers collect data on beach-cast carcasses of marine birds on a monthly basis to establish the baseline, or ‘normal’ pattern of beached bird mortality on North Pacific beaches. Baselines are crucial for assessing the impacts of oil spills, fisheries, and climate change. Data collection by COASST volunteers helps address important marine conservation issues and protects marine resources.
Each volunteer team is assigned a beach. Every month, volunteers walk the beach (in a fashion prescribed by COASST) searching for bird carcasses and anything else notable. Last year, COASST asked volunteers to photograph and identify debris washed up. They are continuing a limited debris study.
When a bird carcass is found, precise measure-ments are taken, photograph the bird, and identify it, if possible. Those data are sent to University of WA. COASST extrapolates all manner of information from the combined date from all areas.
University of Washington Coast Project