On a desolate beach in Northern California's Humboldt County, two scientists troll for bird carcasses, inadvertently finding beauty and perhaps answers about the ocean's warming waters. Marine Biologist Pete Nelson organizes volunteers in his part of the country via a regional program, appropriately called "COASST" (Coastal Observations and Seabird Survey Team) where each month they walk designated stretches of beach to count and identify seabird carcasses. Nelson, along with an avid bird watcher named Joe, take measurements and lovely photographs of each bird they find. All information is forwarded to the central University of Washington office where the data from Northern California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska beaches are added to a growing database from citizen scientists. Nearshore environmental conditions including beach-cast seabird carcasses, reveal the state of the ocean far more effectively than any fisherman or researcher could in the water. Ultimately, the data are used to test ideas about how coastal ecosystems function. For example, seabird mortality in 2005 coincided with anomalous oceanographic conditions and the lowest number of juvenile salmon in National Marine Fisheries Service trawl surveys ever. The local state of the ocean impact the bigger picture of global climate change. Citizen scientists are at the ground level supplying data for scientists who ultimately can affect policy change. It starts, however, with a beautiful carcass hidden in the driftwood. For more information, visit http://depts.washington.edu/coasst/.