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Stacked tires. Photo: Kool Cats Photography. https://flic.kr/p/ChFgxf (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Conference highlights latest findings on toxic chemical in tires

The International Conference on Emerging Contaminants (EMCON), hosted virtually this month by the University of Washington, focused on newly identified threats from chemicals and microplastics in the environment. The conference provided an opportunity to hear the latest research on the discovery of a tire-related compound deadly to Puget Sound’s coho salmon. The cause of what scientists …

Issaquah Creek. Photo courtesy of Nicholas Georgiadis.

Are summer low flows increasing in Puget Sound streams?

Update: A pdf of slides from the presentation is now available. Adequate stream flows are critical to Puget Sound’s endangered salmon and are one of the state’s ‘Vital Sign’ indicators of ecosystem health. Earlier data suggests that summer stream flows have been on the decline, but new analysis shows that gauging these flows may be …

Stormwater picks up contaminants from vehicles. Photo: Daniel Parks (CC BY-NC 2.0) https://www.flickr.com/photos/parksdh/7014755513

Could tire discovery go beyond impacts on coho?

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 …

An illustration of the coronavirus. Image courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The coronavirus has been found in Tacoma sewage. It could help scientists track the pandemic

Researchers at a non-profit biotech startup in Tacoma have found traces of the novel coronavirus in the city’s sewage, opening up new possibilities for tracking and monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic. The testing is being led by Center for Urban Waters collaborator David Hirschberg who directs the RAIN biotech incubator in Tacoma, along with RAIN’s principal …

Time to spare? Why not conduct some real online research to advance science

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 …

A school of herring.Jacob Bøtter/Flickr

Young herring ‘go with the older fish’ a key finding in Ocean Modeling Forum’s efforts

Puget Sound Institute lead ecosystem ecologist Tessa Francis was quoted in a recent article in UW News. From UWT News Service: “Young herring ‘go with the older fish’ a key finding in Ocean Modeling Forum’s efforts,” by Michelle Ma, UW News, May 29, 2019, http://www.washington.edu/news/2019/05/29/young-herring-go-with-the-older-fish-a-key-finding-in-ocean-modeling-forums-efforts/. Tessa Francis is both the lead ecosystem ecologist at the …

A dying female coho salmon in the Lower Duwamish spotted by Puget Soundkeeper volunteers in October 2017. Photo: Kathy Peter

Chemicals from automobile tires suspected in coho deaths

Findings authored this month by University of Washington scientists at the Center for Urban Waters and their collaborators provide new insight into “urban runoff mortality syndrome” affecting Puget Sound coho.   By Jeff Rice Chemicals linked to automobile tires have been found in stormwater associated with the widespread deaths of coho salmon in Puget Sound. The …

An eelgrass bed in Puget Sound. Photo courtesy of Oregon State University.

Ocean acidification may be twice as extreme in Puget Sound’s seagrass habitats, threatening Dungeness crabs

Ocean acidification could be up to twice as severe in fragile seagrass habitats as it is in the open ocean, according to a study published last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The conditions may threaten Dungeness crabs by 2050 and will be especially pronounced in the winter, the study says. …