The Puget Sound region is home to one of the largest nesting colonies of rhinoceros auklets in the world. Each summer tens of thousands of these puffin-like birds raise their chicks on Protection Island in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. You can listen to the sounds of this summer ritual on PRI’s Living on Earth this week. The recording was made in collaboration with the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound. Visit Living on Earth‘s website to view the full feature.
One of our collaborators made news this week for his pilot study quantifying marijuana use in Seattle and Tacoma. Dan Burgard, a chemist at the University of Puget Sound, is analyzing wastewater from sewage treatment plants to identify levels of metabolized THC. The study is designed to determine if new recreational marijuana laws are leading to an increase in marijuana use. It will also look at trends over time, and how the legal trade of marijuana compares with the black market. Burgard is using analytical equipment at the Center for Urban Waters for his study. Read more in […]
A Seattle Times story features a recent paper in the Marine Ecology Press Series about shifting baselines in the Puget Sound food web. Forty years of data from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife reveal a trend toward more jellyfish and less of some forage fish species in the region. High amounts of jellyfish can mean a decline in ecosystem productivity, according to scientists. The original paper was based on some of the same data used by Puget Sound Institute researchers looking at trends for Puget Sound’s Pacific herring populations. Read the […]
We’ve all heard of cleaning up environmental waste, but can waste be used to clean up the environment? A research team led by PSI’s Andy James is using waste product to remove phosphorus from stormwater entering Wapato Lake in south Tacoma. A group of students in collaboration with James and UWT professor Jim Gawell has been collecting “sludge” from wastewater treatment plants around the region with promising results. Read the full article from UWT News and Information.
A June 12th article in The New York Times features a collaboration between the Puget Sound Institute and the City of Tacoma to curb stormwater pollution. PSI’s Director Joel Baker describes how “the forensic work of the scientists and the city have changed the ability to enforce antipollution laws.” Scientists at PSI and the Center for Urban Waters have been working closely with the City of Tacoma to identify and trace sources of contaminants from stormwater and underground pipes flowing into Puget Sound. “We talk about being able to go to anyone — an individual, a house, […]
Several Rhinoceros Auklet recordings from the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound are featured on the national radio show BirdNote this month. PSI’s Jeff Rice recorded the sounds during a trip to Protection Island with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The island is home to one of the largest nesting colonies of rhinoceros auklets in the world, and scientists are studying the birds to identify overall patterns in ecosystem health. Listen online.
A story in the May 29th Skagit Valley Herald features a study by PSI researchers to see if dogs can sniff out chemical contaminants in sewage. Dogs can tell the difference between human waste and that of other animals, and PSI researchers want to know if they can also identify the presence of human-created chemicals such as ibuprofen and caffeine. The chemicals are part of a large group of compounds known as emerging contaminants that are sometimes used to trace sources of pollution. Researchers relied on the nose of Crush the poop-smelling dog, and will […]
A recent article in the Kitsap Sun features a PSI-related study that uses caffeine as a tracer of human contamination in Puget Sound. The article was distributed by the Associated Press to dozens of news sites around the country. PSI and the University of Washington Center for Urban Waters have been collaborating with Kitsap County on the study. Read the A.P. article. Read more about caffeine tracers and other emerging contaminants in the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound. Read a related article about similar PSI research at Everest Base Camp.
By Jeff Rice A March 31st ruling by the United Nations to halt Japanese whaling in the Antarctic draws heavily on analysis by PSI Visiting Scientist Marc Mangel, who served as an Independent Scientific Expert in the case. The Japanese government had argued that whaling in the region was primarily for scientific research, but had been challenged in a lawsuit by the government of Australia.