PSI welcomes Chris Dunagan as senior science writer

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We are pleased to announce that veteran journalist Chris Dunagan has joined the Puget Sound Institute as a Senior Writer. Anyone who has followed Puget Sound issues over the years will recognize Chris’s byline. As the very first environmental reporter for the Kitsap Sun, he has been a respected voice in the region for more than 25 years. As a writer at PSI, he will continue to cover science-related stories focusing on Salish Sea recovery.

Drought offers a glimpse of the ‘new normal’

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This year’s drought has prompted wide concern for Puget Sound’s salmon. Low stream flows and warmer water can prove deadly to fish, as was the case this summer for more than a million hatchery salmon in Washington and hundreds of thousands of sockeye in the Columbia River. While it is seen as an unusual water year, 2015 may actually offer a glimpse of the future under climate change. What is now considered “low” water may become normal by about 2050, according to figures from the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group. The figures are based on 2015’s […]

New papers look at ‘zombie’ steroids

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They are sometimes called ‘zombie’ chemicals. Some compounds thought to be safe and inactive can change into dangerously active forms when they are exposed to the environment. Two recent papers co-authored by PSI collaborator Ed Kolodziej look at some of the ways that regulators may need to account for these transformations. Cole, EA, McBride, SA, Kimbrough, KC, Lee, J, Marchand, EA, Cwiertny, DM, Kolodziej, EP. (2015). Rates and product identification for trenbolone acetate metabolite biotransformation under aerobic conditions. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Volume: 34, Issue: 7, pgs. 1472-1484; DOI: 10.1002/etc.2962. Read the full paper. Ward, AS, Cwiertny, DM, Kolodziej, […]

Assessing microplastics in the world’s oceans

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Our Director Joel Baker recently co-authored Microplastics in the Ocean: A Global Assessment, an international report commissioned by GESAMP (The Joint Group of Experts on Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection). GESAMP is an inter-Agency Body of the United Nations, comprised of a group of independent scientists providing advice to UN Agencies on a wide variety of ocean matters. The report examined the global distribution of micro plastic particles, their known and hypothesized effects on marine organisms, and evaluated potential solutions. Download the report. 

Impacts of diving ducks on herring populations

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Puget Sound Institute Lead Ecologist Tessa Francis attended the 2015 meeting of the International Congress for Conservation Biology earlier this month in Montpellier, France. She presented results from her recent work with colleagues at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center evaluating the impacts on Puget Sound herring populations of herring egg predation by seabirds and other predators. The group is evaluating the causes of local declines in herring subpopulations, or “stocklets,” and suspect that heavy egg predation by diving ducks, especially scoters, may be preventing some herring populations that are already at low […]

PSI scientist argues that African elephants are two distinct species

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Will it prompt new conservation strategies? Puget Sound Institute research scientist Nick Georgiadis was quoted recently in The Guardian about increasing evidence that African elephants should be divided into two species. Georgiadis and other scientists argue that this divide creates an urgent need to reassess elephant conservation strategies. Georgiadis is co-author of a paper in the Annual Review of Animal Biosciences that makes the case for splitting savannah-dwelling elephants (Loxodonta africana) from those living in forested areas (Loxodonta cyclotis). “To my knowledge, all the evidence, now a very large amount, supports two [African elephant] […]

State approves human wellbeing indicators for Puget Sound

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The state today adopted a series of human wellbeing indicators for Puget Sound. The project was led by PSI social scientist Kelly Biedenweg and was featured in a story published by UW News and picked up by several news outlets.  July 29, 2015 Healthier Puget Sound depends on healthy people, report finds Michelle Ma from UW Today  A thriving Puget Sound depends on healthy habitat that can support the animals and plants that live here. Shellfish free of toxins, salmon dashing up streams and forests full of diversity all are […]

Human well-being indicators in the news

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KPLU reports on new human wellbeing indicators under consideration by the Puget Sound Partnership Leadership Council today. PSI Lead Social Scientist Kelly Biedenweg led the development of the indicators designed to track ways that the natural environment of Puget Sound contributes to human quality of life. Read the KPLU report online.  

PSI’s Tessa Francis co-leads Ocean Modeling effort

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The University of Washington Tacoma News & Information website features PSI’s lead ecologist Tessa Francis and her work at the Ocean Modeling Forum. POSTED BY: John Burkhardt June 23, 2015 Tessa Francis at Center for Urban Waters Co-leads Ocean Effort UW Tacoma research scientist Tessa Francis has been named the managing director of the Ocean Modeling Forum, a collaborative effort meant to improve understanding of the world’s oceans. Tessa Francis, research scientist and lead ecosystem ecologist at UW Tacoma’s Puget Sound Institute, is serving as the managing director of a new international, interagency […]

Wastewater study looks at Seattle marijuana use

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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 […]