downloadAll along the Pacific coast of North America and as far south as Costa Rica, people with little or no scientific background have volunteered to raise money for the program and collect the sea water samples needed to test for radiation. The crowdsourcing, citizen-scientist program is the idea of Ken Buesseler, a research scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the world’s biggest private-non-profit oceanographic agency. Buesseler began his career studying the spread of radioactivity from Chernobyl in the Black Sea and has been working with Japanese scientists since mid-2011 to understand the spread of radiation from Fukushima across the Pacific Ocean. Buesseler said in a phone interview from Japan that he was motivated by public concern over radiation from Fukushima and his frustration at the reluctance of the U.S. government to fund a program to measure radiation that is expected to arrive on the West Coast this spring. He said because the radiation levels are expected to be low, federal U.S. officials didn’t consider it a priority. As well, radiation in the oceans fell into the bureaucratic cracks: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s responsbility extends to oceans but not radiation; the Department of Energy is responsible for monitoring radiation but not in the ocean. More