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Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Melissa Studer

Senior Program Officer and Marine Conservationist for the Grunion Greeters Project at Pepperdine University

Melissa Studer is a marine conservationist and the Senior Program Officer of the Grunion Greeter Project. Her accomplishments include several citizen science based projects, such as the Grunion Greeters and Wetland Avengers. Melissa's experience ranges from founding a non-profit marine conservation organization to teaching marine biology-as well as developing educational outreach programs focusing on issues such as invasive species.

Grunion Greeters: Citizen Science on the Beach

Hundreds of citizen scientists monitor sandy beaches for the elusive California grunion, a marine fish with unique spawning habits. Grunion runs occur in the middle of the night, twice a month, after the highest tides associated with a full or new moon. Greeters attend a training workshop and then sign up for dates and sites to monitor during peak spawning season.  They submit their observations via an interactive web site at and through a 'hotline' phone number to be used by Pepperdine University researchers in various studies. Grunion Greeters also contribute to a massive collaboration between concerned residents and numerous scientists, agencies, municipalities and organizations cooperating to ensure protection of grunion and their eggs incubating beneath the sand.

Citizen science, volunteer monitoring, participatory action research... this site supports organizers of all initiatives where public participants are involved in scientific research.

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