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Pigeon guillemot taking flight over water. Photo: Patty McGann (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://flic.kr/p/opywhG

Unsung seabirds could help track Puget Sound health

Pigeon guillemots have attracted relatively little scientific attention compared to other seabirds in Puget Sound. That may be because their population is generally stable, but a group of citizen scientists is helping to put guillemots on the conservation radar. They hope the birds can be used as an indicator of Puget Sound health. Eric Wagner reports for Salish …

View the European green crab story map at https://arcg.is/4SbC0

Story map details efforts to stop green crabs in Puget Sound

Researchers have been on high alert since the 2016 discovery of the invasive European green crab in Puget Sound. So far, monitoring teams have found relatively few crabs, but experts worry that a population could grow rapidly and damage the native ecosystem. Now a collaboration of volunteers, agencies and tribes is working to stop the …

Spring Chinook Salmon. Photo courtesy Michael Humling, US Fish & Wildlife Service

Scientists from five countries seek out the secrets of salmon

The international salmon expedition will try to find out why so many salmon go out into the Pacific Ocean and never return. By Christopher Dunagan An international team of 21 scientists will embark Sunday on a wintry expedition that could help untangle some of the greatest mysteries surrounding Pacific salmon: Where do these migrating fish …

Scientists collect breath samples of an orca using a long pole with petri dishes attached at the end. Photo: Pete Schroeder

The Orca Docs: When should medical experts intervene to save a killer whale?

This week we present “The Orca Docs,” a two-part series from our senior writer Christopher Dunagan. The series focuses on some of the issues related to proposed medical intervention for Puget Sound’s endangered orcas. The death of a young female orca in September has sparked a discussion of how and whether scientists should step in …

Breeding adult Rhinoceros Auklet flying low above the water. San Juan Islands, WA - July, 2016. Photo: Mick Thompson (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/mickthompson/28777858956

Nights in the lives of the rhinoceros auklets of Protection Island

More than 70 percent of the seabird population of Puget Sound nests on a single island in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. That includes a massive colony of rhinoceros auklets that has drawn the interest of scientists and birders alike. Our writer Eric Wagner visited the island this summer and reports on a long-term …