Puget Sound ecosystem holding on, but recovery remains uncertain, says latest status report

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Efforts to restore ecological health to Puget Sound have largely failed to meet recovery goals, yet fish and wildlife populations are still hanging on, according to a new report that describes many struggling populations as neither increasing nor decreasing to a significant extent. The latest State of the Sound report, released last week by the Puget Sound Partnership, reveals the ongoing difficulty of recovering the Puget Sound ecosystem in the face of rapid population growth, climate change and a legacy of pollution and habitat damage. Yet the report, produced every […]

Salish Sea Science Roundtable begins in October

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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 share emerging science that’s shaping Salish Sea recovery and sustainable development, reconnect with colleagues in different fields, and enjoy thought-provoking discussions. We hope you’ll join us virtually the first Tuesday of each month from 12:30-1:30 […]

Salish Sea Model tracks pollution, currents and climate change

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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 waters of Puget Sound contain complex chemical mixtures arising from natural and human sources. The waters are blended and pushed around by currents and other physical forces, creating conditions that vary from place to place. […]

Prey and predators create varying life-or-death conditions for salmon, as shown with Atlantis model

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This article is the latest in a series about computer models and their uses within the Puget Sound ecosystem. As scientists uncover more and more information about a particular ecosystem, computer modelers are often eager to put that raw data to good use in complex models tuned to local conditions. One highly acclaimed model, called Atlantis, has been applied to more than 40 ecosystems around the world. In Puget Sound, Atlantis has been used to study the food web to determine whether salmon are more threatened by predators or by […]

Quantitative models, including Ecopath, take food web studies to a higher level of analysis

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As part of a project exploring the technical uncertainties surrounding Puget Sound water quality, we are reviewing how computer models are used to advance our understanding of natural systems. This blog post is part of a series focused on different models and their uses within the Puget Sound ecosystem. The project is jointly sponsored by King County and the Puget Sound Institute. In the early 1980s, NOAA scientist Jeffrey Polovina and fellow researchers at the National Marine Fisheries Service in Hawaii developed what they called the Ecopath model, designed to describe […]

Health of killer whales examined through Bayesian network modeling and informed predictions

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As part of a project exploring the technical uncertainties surrounding Puget Sound water quality, we are reviewing how computer models are used to advance our understanding of natural systems. This blog post is part of a series focused on different models and their uses within the Puget Sound ecosystem. The project is jointly sponsored by King County and the Puget Sound Institute. Qualitative network modeling, as shown in the previous post in Our Water Ways, is focused on actions that create either positive or negative results for actors in the model. […]

Researchers use a qualitative network model to test ways to boost production at shellfish farms

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As part of a project exploring the technical uncertainties surrounding Puget Sound water quality, we are reviewing how computer models are used to advance our understanding of natural systems. This blog post is part of a series focused on different models and their uses within the Puget Sound ecosystem. The project is jointly sponsored by King County and the Puget Sound Institute. The skeletal beginnings of nearly all models is a conceptual understanding of the basic workings of the system being studied: Who are the important actors, and what are their […]

Before supercomputers, a structural model helped scientists predict currents in Puget Sound

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As part of a project exploring the technical uncertainties surrounding Puget Sound water quality, we are reviewing how computer models are used to advance our understanding of natural systems. This blog post is part of a series focused on different models and their uses within the Puget Sound ecosystem. The project is jointly sponsored by King County and the Puget Sound Institute. One of the first working models of Puget Sound was a scaled-down concrete reproduction of the regional topography, with actual water running through channels, around islands and into bays, […]