VIEW THE FULLY FORMATTED NEWSLETTER in your browser Boundary spanning in Puget Sound Ecosystem-based management is often a large-scale collaborative effort involving many distinct groups. Boundary spanning organizations such as the Puget Sound Institute can help to support communication and policy development across institutions. In a new paper in the journal Environmental Science & Policy, we look at how knowledge exchange influences science-based ecosystem recovery in Puget Sound. Our paper is now online, and we have created an extended abstract available on the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound. Read more. Magazine series looks […]
It has been more than ten years since the first of the Elwha River’s two dams was breached, and scientists are gaining new perspectives on the resilience of that ecosystem and its species. The dramatic sight of a river suddenly running free, and the swift return of its salmon has captured the public’s imagination. But a key factor driving the return of the Elwha’s fish populations is less visible. It exists in the microscopic realm, in the genes of the species. We are pleased to kick off a new series this week […]
A new book explores our complicated connection to the ecosystem that we call home. We interview author David B. Williams about Homewaters: A Human and Natural History of Puget Sound, published this month by the University of Washington Press. The following is an excerpt from our publication the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound. Long before the explorer George Vancouver began remaking the names and maps of our region, Puget Sound was known as “Whulge,” an onomatopoetic Coast Salish word denoting the sound of waves. If you listen closely, the waves washing […]
Scientists have suspected for several years that chemicals from tire wear particles are to blame for the deaths of thousands of coho salmon that have returned to spawn in Puget Sound’s urban streams. Sometimes referred to as “pre-spawn mortality” or “urban runoff mortality syndrome,” these deaths typically occur in streams near roads, and scientists have been analyzing a wide variety of automobile-derived chemicals to see if they produced similar toxic effects. Now, thanks to some painstaking detective work by our partners at the University of Washington Center for Urban Waters […]
Scientists have known for years that Chinook salmon are important to southern resident orcas, but Chinook are not the only fish the whales eat. At the moment, chum salmon are returning to Puget Sound, and recent orca sightings suggest that the whales may now be feeding on chum. Harbor seals also eat Chinook salmon, but also chum, coho and other fish. They seem fond of smaller fish like herring and juvenile salmon. Oh, what a tangled food web we weave… Can we really say that seals are stealing the lunch […]
The state’s stay-at-home order has halted much of the field research that would normally be underway in Puget Sound this spring, but a small group of scientists and volunteers have been able to continue their search for an invading marauder along the shoreline. Their work has been classified as critical by the state. Eric Wagner reports for our magazine Salish Sea Currents on the search for the invasive green crab.
The National Weather Service is predicting a warmer and drier than average summer this year in Washington, prompting officials to brace for an early start to the fire season. Historically, the eastern part of the state has seen the largest impacts from fires, but climate change is now increasing the risk west of the Cascades. That could have big implications for many rural communities in the Puget Sound region. Christopher Dunagan reports the story for our magazine Salish Sea Currents.
What do people really mean when they talk about the environment? A new podcast from the University of Washington Tacoma asks regular citizens a simple, but charged question: “What are the environmental challenges that are most important to you?” The answers to that question drive this engaging podcast in sometimes unexpected directions, from the environmental impacts of being homeless, to air quality, to wide-ranging discussions about environmental justice. Voices Unbound is a unique blend of community researchers from the University of Washington Tacoma: A community nurse, an urban ecologist, an […]
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. […]
If you are looking for something constructive to do in this stay-at-home period of our lives, I might suggest joining a team of scientists conducting real online research. Zooniverse, a clearinghouse of about 100 active crowd-sourced science projects, has added educational materials for all age groups. Students learning at home can assist professional researchers as they seek answers to real scientific questions. For a few other stay-at-home ideas, skip to the bottom of this page. One interesting Zooniverse project is “Penguin Watch,” in which citizen scientists are asked to look […]
Social scientists at Oregon State University have been analyzing a trove of more than 17,000 public comments sent to the Washington state governor’s southern resident orca recovery task force. The researchers have added the comments to a keyword database to look at public emotions and perceptions around the issue of orca declines. The orca task force was created in March 2018 after media reports of sick and dying whales prompted widespread public concern and led to a groundswell of activity to try to save the endangered whales from extinction. Since […]
Early effects of a warming Earth have reached Washington state, as we can see from actual measurements. Annual snowpack is declining in the mountains; ancient glaciers are shrinking; sea levels are rising; and coastal waters are becoming less hospitable to sea life. These are some of the changes outlined in a new easy-to-read briefing report titled “Shifting Snowlines and Shorelines” by the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington. The report is designed to bring a clear message to leaders and citizens of Washington state regarding where we have […]