Could healthier, happier humans lead to a healthier Puget Sound?

Walking on the rocks along the Sound. Myrtle Edwards Park, Seattle, WA. Photo: cleverdame107 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Walking on the rocks along the Sound. Myrtle Edwards Park, Seattle, WA. Photo: cleverdame107 (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

For the past two years, Puget Sound Institute Lead Social Scientist Kelly Biedenweg has been working with the Puget Sound Partnership to identify and recommend what are termed “human wellbeing indicators.” These indicators will be adopted by the agency as part of its Human Quality of Life Vital Sign. Biedenweg, along with Kari Stiles of the Puget Sound Partnership, and Katharine Wellman of Northern Economics presented a final report to the Leadership Council last month.

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UW scientist studies how pharmaceuticals impact the environment

University of Washington scientist Edward Kolidziej

University of Washington scientist Edward Kolodziej

Dr. Ed Kolodziej is one of the newest collaborators with the Puget Sound Institute. Kolodziej began his appointment at the University of Washington Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering last fall with a joint appointment at Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at UW Tacoma. His research looks at some of the ways that organic compounds like steroids and other pharmaceuticals persist in the environment. Known as contaminants of emerging concern (CEC), these compounds are flushed into Puget Sound and other natural systems every day.​

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The watershed: Winter bat recordings

BIG BROWN BAT (Eptesicus fuscus), IN FLIGHT AT NIGHT, ROGUE RIVER NATIONAL FOREST, OREGON

Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus). Photo: Angell Williams (CC BY 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/53357045@N02/4973650026

Bats are thought of as warm weather creatures, but recent studies have shown that they can be active throughout the winter. Here in the Puget Sound region, bat echolocations have been recorded in temperatures in the low teens, and are commonly heard during more mild conditions. Continue reading

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Identifying priority science for Puget Sound recovery

In December 2014, the Puget Sound Leadership Council adopted the 2014-2016 Biennial Science Work Plan, a document identifying decision-critical science for Puget Sound recovery. PSI Research Scientist Nick Georgiadis was lead author on the report in collaboration with the Puget Sound Partnership and its Science Panel. In the report, Georgiadis addresses the challenge of managing large scale ecosystems in the face of scientific uncertainty. Read an excerpt from a summary of the Biennial Science Work Plan below. Continue reading

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New data could yield clues to herring declines

Pacific Herring. Photo by Mary Whalen, USGS

Pacific Herring. Photo by Mary Whalen, USGS

It was a treasure trove, waiting to be uncovered. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) had been surveying Puget Sound herring habitat for more than 40 years, but until recently, much of that data remained in the original logbooks, un-digitized and unused. Recent efforts by Puget Sound Institute Lead Ecologist Tessa Francis in collaboration with NOAA and DFW have now made this data more accessible. The scientists hope that it will help to answer some of the key questions behind recent declines in Puget Sound herring populations. Continue reading

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Scientists examine the ‘time of emergence’ for climate change in Puget Sound

Mean sea level trend in Seattle, WA (1898-2006). A rising sevel trend of 2.06 mm/yr (0.68 feet per100 years) was observed at a station in the Seattle, WA area. (NOAA. 2012).

Mean sea level trend in Seattle, WA (1898-2006). A rising sevel trend of 2.06 mm/yr (0.68 feet per100 years) was observed at a station in the Seattle, WA area. (NOAA. 2012).

Climate change, like politics, is local. “At least that is how you have to look at the impacts,” says Encyclopedia of Puget Sound topic editor Amy Snover. Snover is the Director of the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington and has been conducting research on the expected ‘time of emergence’ for climate change in the Puget Sound region.

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Paper says spawning herring show little preference for vegetation

Pacific herring are known to lay their eggs on a wide variety of submerged vegetation, from algae to seagrass. A new study in the Marine Ecology Progress Series reports that Puget Sound herring show little preference when it comes to these types of spawning vegetation. The paper, co-authored by Puget Sound Institute Lead Ecologist Tessa Francis, analyzes herring egg loss on five types of vegetation in several herring subpopulations in Puget Sound. Authors include Andrew Shelton, Tessa Francis, Gregory Williams, Blake Feist, Kurt Stick and Phil Levin.

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