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Seabird Ecological Assessment Network (SEANET)

Main Project Information
Goal Help identify, record information about coastal bird mortality.
Task examine the spatial pattern of bird carcasses.
Where Seabird Ecological Assessment Network (SEANET) United States

Seabird Ecological Assessment Network (SEANET) volunteers conduct beached bird surveys along the east coast of the United States in order to identify and record information about bird mortality. Volunteers examine the spatial pattern of bird carcass deposition and how it varies across time.

The project brings together interdisciplinary researchers and citizen scientists in a long-term collaborative effort to identify and mitigate threats to marine birds.

These surveys provide baseline information about bird mortality and help to detect mass mortality events such as oil spills, algal toxins, and disease outbreaks. Marine birds can serve as indicators of ecosystem and human health; monitoring the threats they face and their mortality patterns can teach us about the health of the marine environment.

This project relies heavily on a working partnership between concerned citizens with an incomparable understanding of local ecosystems and natural phenomena, and scientists with the training and knowledge to synthesize and verify the data generated by local residents. Through this synergistic relationship, scientists exponentially increase the amount and range of data they can access, and residents come to see the larger patterns and trends of which their local ecosystem is a part.

How to Join

To join, complete a Volunteer Contract, which can be found on the Volunteer Toolkit webpage:

This webpage also provides a volunteer protocol and other helpful materials.

Required Gear

Upon signing the SEANET contract, you will receive a volunteer toolkit. Your volunteer kit includes a wing ruler, calipers, and cable ties for marking carcasses.

Volunteer equipment includes a map of survey route, index cards (for labeling carcasses), camera (preferably digital), binoculars, field guide to birds, global positioning system (GPS) device, raingear, sun protection, snacks, water, and waterproof footwear.

Regarding personal equipment, all but a camera are optional. SEANET provides all other necessary equipment and can replace most items if lost or damaged.

In cooperation with the Coastal Observation And Seabird Survey Team (COASST) program and Bird Studies Canada, SEANET has developed a field guide called "Beached Birds: a COASST Field Guide to the North Atlantic." You may purchase a copy of the book for $31.50 (plus $4.50 for shipping).

Ideal Age Group Middle school (11 - 13 years), High school (14 - 17 years), College, Graduate students, Adults
Spend the Time outdoors
Type of Activity At the beach, In oceans, streams, rivers, lakes
Tags ocean
Project Updated 01/30/2018