Tag Archives: Student

New Footprints – Rosalind Huang


Rosalind shows off an Dolly Varden (Salvelinus alpinus – sometimes referred to as Char, Arctic Char or Bull Trout) from Alaska.

Ever wonder what paths past COASST interns take after their time with COASST? This week, we asked Rosalind, a University of Washington graduate, what adventures she has taken on since interning for COASST.

As Rosalind’s COASST internship came to an end, Rosalind decided to mix things up and accepted an internship with Washington Sea Grant. Rosalind found her internship with Washington Sea Grant to be “a totally different type of internship” compared to COASST. During this internship, Rosalind was responsible for organizing publications and conducting library searches. When asked how this experience influenced her career in the environmental field, Rosalind told COASST, “the experience helped tremendously later on for [her] own research.”

While talking with Rosalind, she emphasized the importance of having connections and the courage to speak with different people about various open opportunities that one could apply for. She gave an example of a time when she once asked our very own Seabird Program Coordinator, Jane Dolliver, if she knew anyone in Taiwan who was involved with Seabird Research. Rosalind, originally from Taiwan, was planning a trip back home and thought it would be interesting to go meet someone while she was there. After being referred to a professor at the National Taiwan Ocean University, Rosalind ended up helping Congratulafins, a non-governmental organization whose mission is to stop shark fining, with their social media and different campaigns.

Now, Rosalind is settled in California where she is working full time at a smart watch company and volunteering for Congratulafins part time. When asked what her next big move will be, Rosalind said she plans “to go back to school in a few years for more fish-related studies.”

COASST Internships Still Available!


The Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) is looking for 2-5 undergraduate students to assist with program’s marine debris and beached bird data collection projects.

Students working with COASST gain valuable, hands-on experience with citizen science programs, scientific protocol development and testing and learn the complexities of adapting data collection to a broad and diverse crew of participants. Students will work directly with the program’s research staff to 1) manage linked image, beach, volunteer and bird databases 2) field-test the marine debris protocol 3) create and update field toolkits 4) perform literature searches and prepare materials for talks, trainings and socials 5) network with principal investigators, researchers, and partners

Once quarterly, students will present their work at lab meetings, and attend the COASST field trip (January 10-12, for the 2014 UW winter quarter).

Interested students should send an email to: Jane Dolliver, Program Coordinator, coasst at uw dot edu


Welcome, Jenn!


Jenn holding an Atlantic Puffin chick on Eastern Egg Rock Island, Maine.

This fall, we welcomed a new graduate student to COASST: Jennifer Ma. Jenn comes to the UW from New York, where she completed her undergraduate degree in Wildlife Science at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. As a graduate student, she’ll be working with our COASST data to “explore the unexplored:” trends and emerging patterns from the last fifteen years of beached birds. Jenn’s first look at the data involves digging deeper into the 2009 algal bloom event on the Washington coast.

Dead birds aren’t the only kind of birds she’s interested in. As an avid birder and former field technician, Jenn has a lot of love for seabirds and other feathered friends. Since graduating in 2011, she has done field work in New Jersey with Piping Plovers, in Maine with Project Puffin, in Australia with Fairy-wrens, and in New Hampshire with warblers. She’s also traveled in between jobs to Ireland, throughout Australia, and New Zealand (birding, of course).

Jenn is excited to get her graduate degree up and running and we look forward to sharing her results!

High school students return tsunami boat to Japan

The west coast of the United States has been the final resting place for much of the wreckage that left Japan on March 11, 2011, after a massive earthquake and resulting tsunami rocked its shores. One such relic of the tragedy is a small fishing boat belonging to a Japanese high school in Rikuzentakata that washed ashore in Crescent City, California this past April. This boat survived an incredible journey across the planet’s largest ocean.

Students from Crescent City’s Del Monte High School made it their mission to return the boat to Japan free of barnacles and full of compassion. These students understand the devastation a tsunami can cause, as they too were impacted by the event. The earthquake that created the Japanese tsunami also caused a tsunami that badly damaged Crescent City’s harbor. The Del Monte students filmed a video that shows the connection these two cities share. They sent the video with the vessel as a reminder to the students in Rikusentakata that they have not been forgotten and that a midst the unthinkable devastation and loss, there can be small but meaningful steps toward healing. After two years awash at sea, the boat departed Oakland for Japan on September 19th, to be reunited with its rightful owners at last.

Students from Del Norte High School return the boat to Japan with compassion.

Students from Del Norte High School return the boat to Japan with compassion.

Click here to learn more about this project and see the student’s film.

Education Research: Meet Katie!

Katie takes a break for a hike along the Oregon Coast, at Cascade Head.

Katie takes a break for a hike along the Oregon Coast at Cascade Head.

Who is Katie?

Katie Woollven is a Marine Resource Management grad student, working with Dr. Shawn Rowe in the Free-choice Learning Lab at Oregon State University. For her Master’s thesis project, Katie gets to chat with select COASST participants about their perspectives on their role in science and resource management.

Where has she been?

After receiving her B.S. in marine biology from Texas A&M, Katie worked as a field biologist collecting mosquitoes for a bird study, as a fisheries observer in Alaska, and as an intertidal lab tech before shifting gears to focus on education research. Working with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Science Under Sail Program and an NOAA-funded community-based marine debris removal project sparked her current interest in nature of science learning and citizen science.

What is she thinking about and exploring in her research?

“The big, overarching questions for my grad studies are: What kind of learning does or can happen in citizen science programs?  How can we design citizen science programs to benefit science, volunteers, and society?,” says Katie. “COASST is a long-term citizen science program with a diverse group of participants to help us understand how/if citizen science impacts participants and the greater community,” she adds. And the best part, we asked? “I’m excited to hear what COASSTers have to say!”

COASSTing in Taholah

Last Friday, Julia and Jane stopped in at the Quinault Division of Natural Resources in Taholah, Washington. Julia, wearing “both her hats” as an Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Diversity at the College of the Environment and the Executive Director of COASST had a chance to hear from a host of Quinault Indian Nation resource managers including Joe Schumacker, Ed Johnstone, Daniel Ravenel, Heather May, Mark Mobbs, Larry Gilbertson and Janet Clark.

Non-bird finds: deer, cormorant egg, monofilament ball, toy boat.

Non-bird finds: deer, cormorant egg, monofilament ball, toy boat.

Julia and Daniel take in the views.

Julia and Daniel check out some (live) seabirds.

And we just had to head out the beach for a COASST survey with Daniel (a long-time COASST participant) and Nick Barry (tribal member and wildlife intern from Washington State University). With the sun out, we had ample time to take in the views, discover a “new foot type,” find a cormorant egg, and some debris items, all in a matter of hours. The only COASST find that day? Well, see if you can tell from the photo:

Julia and Nick examine the find of the day. Hint: a tubenose, common this time of year.

Julia and Nick examine the find of the day. Hint: a tubenose, common this time of year.

Olympic Peninsula Field Trip

Amazing trip out to the COASST with Barbara Blackie’s “Topics in Marine Ecology” class at Western Washington University. Barbara, a former COASST Volunteer Coordinator, uses COASST surveys as a learning opportunity for numerous college students. As all COASSTers know, you can’t head out to the beach without looking for (dead) birds!

COASST finds made up for the less-than-ideal weather – a couple of Black-footed Albatross, a Rhinoceros Auklet (complete with white leading edge), and a Sabine’s Gull (distinctive white upperwing triangle).

Bill (BFAL), wing (PHAU), wing (SAGU) from the WWU field trip weekend.

Occasionally, new recruits ask whether “Wrack: Thick >1M wide” refers to wrack height or spread across the sand. At Sooes, we actually found wrack almost one meter tall – incredible.

Students from Barbara’s class show just how much wrack can accumulate.

We followed up COASST surveys with a walk on the Cape Flattery trail, with some stunning views of Gray Whales, Tufted Puffins, and migrating geese. After all that, how could you not want to become a marine biologist?

View from the Cape Flattery Trail, with Tatoosh Island in the background.


New Service Learning Students

Last weekend we welcomed two more students, Katie and Carrie, to the COASST team. Both will temporarily adopt, or “spot weld” into COASST beaches in and around Seattle during the University of Washington’s spring quarter (April 1- June 14).

Katie (left) and Carrie (right)

Dressed for the weather, we headed out to Golden Gardens, which also happens to be a local BBQ/sand volleyball hot spot, but only during the summer months. We counted tens of people, not hundreds. No birds found (last quarter we found a Great Blue Heron, so you never know), but some predicable marine debris items: caps, lids, cans and straws.

A flock of Brant (geese)

We’re seeing signs of spring – a flock of approximately 120 Brant landed out near the surf at the northern end of the beach. But winter is still “phasing out.” We returned just in time to miss a rather impressive ice pellet shower in the evening (see below, the view from our office).

The ice covered awning outside the COASST office window



Snowy Owl on COASST Survey!

Marine Biology students participating in a survey with COASST staff and volunteers encountered the first snowy owl to be found on a COASST beach!