Seabird Monitoring Program Press Release

Tufts-based program seeking baseline data for ecological study
North Grafton, MA, January 26, 2010

The Seabird Ecological Assessment Network (SEANET) is recruiting volunteer citizen scientists to assist in a study of seabirds along the coast of Maine. Volunteers are asked to register with the Tufts-based program to walk an assigned segment of shoreline monthly or semi-monthly and record environmental data and report on seabird health.

Volunteers can monitor seashores of any type—cobble, gravel, ledge, boulder, or sand—provided they can be walked year-round. No specialized training is required.

SEANET staff will host an information session at Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth, Maine on February 25 starting at 7pm. Interested volunteers are asked to RSVP with Dr. Julie Ellis in advance at seanet [at] tufts [dot] edu.

SEANET, the Atlantic Coast's only program conducting standardized seabird monitoring, relies upon volunteer data to chart and monitor the health of birds and marine ecosystems alike. The program is entirely funded through grants and private donations and is housed at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in Grafton, MA.

The Maine study, which spans one year, is funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and will monitor seabird mortality along the state's coast. The baseline data collected will permit better detection of chronic, low-level oil spills and inform damage assessments after major spills. SEANET is particularly interested in recruiting volunteers to survey shorelines in Casco Bay for the purposes of this study, but volunteers wanting to survey other areas of Maine are also welcome.

Volunteers will collect data on environmental conditions, beach debris and both dead and live bird sightings, and will receive a tee shirt after completing one year of consistent surveys. At the conclusion of the study, Mainers are welcome to remain with SEANET and continue submitting data for SEANET's long-term studies of seabird populations.

More information is available on the SEANET Blog. Individuals interested in volunteering may contact SEANET director Julie Ellis, PhD, at seanet [at] tufts [dot] edu or by calling (508) 887-4933.


About the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine

Founded in 1978 in North Grafton, MA, the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University is known for academic programs that impact society and the practice of veterinary medicine; five hospitals that treat over 30,000 cases each year; and groundbreaking research that benefits animal, public and environmental health.