The Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference goes virtual


Despite the cancellation of the full program, the 2020 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference will go forward with a variety of virtual sessions on April 21st and 22nd. The first day of the conference includes a session led by Puget Sound Institute senior scientist Andy James on the occurrence and impacts of contaminants in the Salish Sea. All the sessions are free to the public and a full schedule is available on the conference website. The conference program will also include plenary speakers and the presentation of the SeaDoc Science Award. The Puget Sound Institute will be reporting stories on several of the virtual sessions as well as findings presented in the conference abstracts. Coverage of the conference will appear in our online magazine Salish Sea Currents. 


A draft rundown of the session on contaminants is available below:


SSEC 2020 Virtual Sessions – The Ecotoxicity and Occurrence of Contaminants in the Salish Sea Ecosystem

Brief:               Three 90-minute sessions with a wide range of presentations focusing on research into the occurrence, toxicity, and impacts of anthropogenic contaminants in the Salish Sea.

Date:               April 21, 2020

Time:               10:30am – 4:00pm

Location:         All of the sessions will be presented via Zoom. Sessions are free, but registration for the conference is required.


Session 1: The Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry of the Salish Sea Ecosystem

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM


Results from biennial mussel watch monitoring in Sinclair and Dyes Inlets, Puget Sound, Washington from 2010 to 2018

Robert K Johnston1, Jonathan Strivens2, Jill M Brandenberger3, John A Frew4, Nicholas Hayman4 and Trevor Richardson5

(1)Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Pacific Northwest Chapter, Bremerton, WA, (2)Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Sequim, WA, (3)Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Seattle, WA, (4)Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific, San Diego, CA, (5)Puget Sound Naval Shipyard & IMF, Bremerton, WA

Fish health and tissue chemical burdens in marine areas exposed to primary- and secondary-treated municipal wastewater effluent in the Salish Sea

Benjamin Beall1, Martin Davies1, Ryan Stevenson1, Shirley Lyons2 and Christopher J Lowe2

(1)Hatfield Consultants, North Vancouver, BC, Canada, (2)Capital Regional District, Victoria, BC, Canada

The puzzle of declining benthic invertebrate communities – could high organic matter deposition have a role?

Sandra Weakland1, Dany Burgess1, Maggie Dutch2, Angela Eagleston1 and Valerie Partridge1,

(1)Washington State Department of Ecology, Lacey, WA, (2)Washington Department of Ecology, Olympia, WA

Innovative Treatment of Wood Waste Sediments Using Reactive Amendments and DGT Passive Porewater Sulphide Testing Techniques

Daniel J Berlin1, Dimitri Vlassopoulos2, Masa Kanematsu2, Joy Dunay1, Tom Wang1, Michael Waters3 and Kristen Ritchot4

(1)Anchor QEA, LLC, Seattle, WA, (2)Anchor QEA, LLC, Portland, OR, (3)Department of National Defence, Victoria, BC, Canada, (4)Public Services and Procurement Canada, Victoria, BC, Canada

Pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and perfluoroalkyl substances in sediments from six urban bays and ten stations in Puget Sound, 2010-2019.

Margaret Dutch1, Sandra Weakland2 and Valerie Partridge2

(1)Washington Department of Ecology, Olympia, WA, (2)Washington State Department of Ecology, Lacey, WA

Low concentrations and short durations of road runoff are lethal to coho salmon

Jenifer McIntyre1, Jasmine Prat1, Jay Davis2, Nathaniel L. Scholz3 and John D Stark1

(1)Washington State University, Puyallup, WA, (2)US Fish and Wildlife Service, Lacey, WA, (3)NOAA Fisheries, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, WA



Session 2: Contaminants in the Salish Sea: Wildlife exposure and impacts

12:30 PM – 2:00 PM


Sources, sinks, dispersion and cycling of dissolved polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) discharged in the Strait of Georgia

Yuanji Sun, Maria T Maldonado, Roger Francois, Rich Pawlowicz and Sam Stevens

Dept of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Eradicating Creosote and Large Marine Debris from the Salish Sea of Washington Through Citizen Engagement, Strategic Partnerships and Constant Removal

Chris S Robertson,

Washington State Department of Natural Resources, Sedro Woolley, WA

Water Quality in Urban Creeks During Storm Events

Ed Kolodziej1, Katherine Peter2, Zhenyu Tian2, Melissa Gonzalez2, Rachel Lundeen2 and Rachel Hettinger2

(1)University of Washington (Tacoma/Seattle), Tacoma, WA, (2)Center for Urban Waters, Tacoma, WA

Charactering priority pollutants in juvenile chinook salmon in the Fraser River Estuary Watershed

Tanya M Brown1, Kj Sadler2, Bonnie Lo3, Vicki L Marlatt4, Dave C Scott5, Katerina Colbourne1, Kelsey Delisle6, Marie Noel6 and Misty MacDuffee7

(1)Fisheries and Oceans Canada, West Vancouver, BC, Canada, (2)Environment and Climate Change Canada, Vancouver, BC, Canada, (3)Simon Fraser University, West Vancouver, BC, Canada, (4)Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada, (5)UBC / Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Vancouver, BC, Canada, (6)Ocean Wise Conservation Association, Vancouver, BC, Canada, (7)Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Sidney, BC, Canada

Assessing PCB and PBDE Biotransformation and trophic transfer Salish Sea food webs using stable carbon isotope analysis and enantiomeric fractionation

Irvin Schultz1, Jonelle Gates2, Paul Chittaro1, Daryle Boyd3, Li-Jung Kuo4, Gina Ylitalo1, M.Bradley Hanson5, Candice Emmons5, John Calambokidis6, Jessie Huggins7, Sandra M O’Neill8 and James E West8

(1)NOAA-NWFSC, Seattle, WA, (2)NWFSC-NOAA, Seattle, WA, (3)NOAA-NWFSC, Seattler, WA, (4)PNNL, Sequim, WA, (5)NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, WA, (6)Cascadia Research Collective, Olympia, WA, (7)Cascadia Research Collective, Seattle, WA, (8)Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, WA

Identifying Local Sources of Pollutants that affect Southern Resident Killer Whales in the Salish Sea

Frank APC Gobas, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada, Robyn Pearce,

Simon Fraser, Burnaby, BC, Canada and Juan Jose Alava, Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada



Session 3: Contaminants in the Salish Sea: Wildlife exposure and impacts

2:30 PM – 4:00 PM


Embryotoxicity of diluted bitumen applied to eggshells of wild double-crested cormorants and domestic chickens

Mason D King1, John E Elliott2, Vicki L Marlatt1 and Tony D Williams1

(1)Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada, (2)ECCC, Delta, BC, Canada

Chemical tracers guide identification of the source of persistent organic pollutants in juvenile Chinook salmon, migrating seaward through an estuary

Andrea J Carey1, Sandra M O’Neill1, Louisa B Harding1, James E West1, Gina Ylitalo2 and Joshua W Chamberlin2

1)Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, WA, (2)NOAA-NWFSC, Seattle, WA

Seasonal trends in Cu, Ag and Cd content in Strait of Georgia zooplankton

Bertha Iselle Flores Ruiz1, Cheng Kuang1, Maria T Maldonado2 and Roger Francois2,

(1)University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada, (2)Dept of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Sublethal effects of the sea lice pesticides ivermectin and SLICE® on starry flounder behaviour and physiology when exposed to contaminated sediments

Daniel King,

Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada

Utilizing High Resolution Mass Spectrometry for Improved Characterization of CECs Occurrence and Impacts in Puget Sound watershed.

  1. Andrew James and Zhenyu Tian,

University of Washington Tacoma, Center for Urban Waters, Tacoma, WA

Chemical profiling of surface water quality in relation to coho spawner mortality across a gradient of urbanization in Puget Sound

Jessica I Lundin1, Katherine Peter2, Blake Feist1, Julann Spromberg1, Jenifer McIntyre3, Zhenyu Tian4, Christopher Wu5, Ed Kolodziej6 and Nathaniel L. Scholz1

(1)NOAA Fisheries, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Seattle, WA, (2)University of Washington, Tacoma, WA, (3)Washington State University, Puyallup, WA, (4)Center for Urban Waters, Tacoma, WA, (5)UW – Center for Urban Waters, Seattle, WA, (6)University of Washington (Tacoma/Seattle), Tacoma, WA