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September 25, 2023

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Warm ocean waters work their way into Puget Sound

Unusually warm waters in the Pacific Ocean — now pushing up against the Washington coast — are keeping oceanographers on alert for changes that could reverberate through the food web, potentially affecting fish, birds and marine mammals in coastal waters and in Puget Sound. Rising ocean temperatures may be related to recent sightings of warm-water […]

September 21, 2023

Image courtesy of Welch et al.">

Salish Sea Science Roundtable begins in October

While there are often opportunities to go deep in our respective fields, breakthroughs can come from unexpected connections and interdisciplinary discussions. The Salish Sea Science Roundtable is a virtual monthly seminar inspired by just that. UW Puget Sound Institute is co-convening the roundtable with several organizations, including Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Each month we’ll connect to […]

July 13, 2023

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Salish Sea Model tracks pollution, currents and climate change

This article is the latest in a series about computer models and their uses within the Puget Sound ecosystem. Today, we look at the Salish Sea Model, one of several models in the region helping to predict water circulation, water quality and food-web relationships. Read the full series: Where and how the water moves The […]

October 14, 2022

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Scientists dig into massive data collected during international high-seas expedition

Questions about where salmon go and how they survive when traveling far out into the Pacific Ocean have puzzled scientists for 200 years. But a new vision for piecing together this intricate puzzle has begun to emerge, thanks to sophisticated research tools deployed during an international expedition this past winter. Last week, scientists got together […]

February 3, 2022

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North Pacific expedition gets underway aboard four ocean-going research ships

A North Pacific research expedition is underway, with projects said to be bigger, bolder and more scientifically sophisticated than cruises in 2019 and 2020. Four research vessels carrying more than 60 scientists from various countries will span out across the Pacific Ocean to increase their understanding of salmon — including migration, environmental stresses, availability of […]

January 21, 2022

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Scientists look for answers in methane bubbles rising from bottom of Puget Sound

In 2011, sonar operators aboard the ocean-going Research Vessel Thomas G. Thompson inadvertently recorded a surprising natural phenomenon, as the 274-foot ship traversed through Puget Sound while returning to port at the University of Washington. At the time, researchers on board were focused on a host of other projects. They might not have known that […]

December 20, 2021

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Understanding the cold-water needs of salmon and helping them to survive

Salmon need cold water. This general statement is something I’ve been hearing since I first began reporting on these amazing migrating fish years ago. Cold water is a fact of life for salmon, known for their long travels up and down streams, out to saltwater and back. But colder is not always better. Questions about […]

December 17, 2021

Map showing a marine heat wave known as "the blob" which spread across the northeastern Pacific Ocean from 2014 to 2016. Image: Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory, Data: Coral Reef Watch">

Modeling “the blob” in the Salish Sea

In late 2013, a marine heatwave that scientists dubbed “the blob” began warming the ocean throughout the Northeast Pacific, causing temperatures to rise almost 3°C above normal. The disruption severely depressed salmon returns. Whales, sea lions and seabirds starved, and warm water creatures were suddenly being spotted off the coast of Alaska. In Puget Sound, temperatures also jumped, but the effects of the blob […]

September 16, 2021

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Plunging into a jungle of weather statistics to find the footprints of climate change

“Augusts in Seattle are getting hotter, leading to a change of 3.5°F since 1970.” This was the sentence that caught my eye while reading an email from Peter Gerard, director of communications for Climate Central, an organization that prides itself on helping news reporters tell an accurate story of climate change. I wondered immediately: Is […]