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Recent papers from our group: 6PPD-Q updates and the ongoing hunt for contaminants

New papers this month 6PPD-Quinone: Revised Toxicity Assessment and Quantification with a Commercial Standard A 2022 article in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters revises previous findings on the environmental concentration and toxicity of 6PPD-Quinone, a novel compound lethal to coho salmon. The paper reports that 6PPD-Quinone, a chemical resulting from tire wear particles, …

Scientists look for answers in methane bubbles rising from bottom of Puget Sound

In 2011, sonar operators aboard the ocean-going Research Vessel Thomas G. Thompson inadvertently recorded a surprising natural phenomenon, as the 274-foot ship traversed through Puget Sound while returning to port at the University of Washington. At the time, researchers on board were focused on a host of other projects. They might not have known that …

Mathematical tools to aid in the interpretation of coronavirus testing

New mathematical equations co-developed by Puget Sound Institute affiliate research professor Marc Mangel are designed to help health officials interpret coronavirus test results for better risk assessments.  As more people in the U.S. are vaccinated and mask restrictions loosen, public health officials hope that the coronavirus pandemic has reached a turning point. Even so, the …

Low-interest loans could help shoreline property owners finance improvements

As ongoing research confirms the importance of shoreline habitat throughout Puget Sound, experts are looking for new ways to help shoreline property owners pay for bulkhead removals. One emerging idea, which could be established as a formal initiative within a year, consists of a special shoreline loan program that could provide low-interest loans to residential …

Puget Sound Partnership proposing ‘Desired Outcomes’ for ongoing ecosystem recovery

Puget Sound Action Agenda, often referred to as Puget Sound Partnership’s blueprint for ecological recovery, continues to evolve. The next Action Agenda — scheduled to go into effect a year from now — will incorporate an expanded long-range vision for Puget Sound, complete with broad-based strategies, not just near-term actions. “Desired Outcomes,” the first major …

Discovery of toxic chemical in tires spurs scientific and regulatory interest

The discovery of a mysterious chemical that kills coho salmon in urban streams is expected to spawn new research throughout the world while possibly inspiring new demands for protective regulations. The deadly chemical, associated with automobile tires, was identified by researchers at the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Waters, which is affiliated with the …

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 …

A look at future ocean conditions and how they could affect coastal communities

Scientists tell us that climate change is probably increasing the frequency of extreme events, such as hurricanes, droughts and wildfires. As time goes on, we might expect even more dramatic shifts in the ecosystem, as some species move to more suitable locations and others die out. The Pacific Fishery Management Council, which oversees fishing along …

Warm-water ‘blobs’ significantly diminish salmon, other fish populations, study says

It’s no secret that salmon and other Northwest fish populations are expected to shrink as a result of a warming Pacific Ocean. But a new study suggests that the resulting decline in commercial fishing by 2050 could be twice as great as previously estimated by climate scientists. The higher estimates of population declines were calculated …

Virus related to measles could push Puget Sound orcas to extinction, study says

Researchers studying the killer whales that frequent Puget Sound are growing increasingly concerned that a dangerous virus or other disease-causing organism could spread through the population and hasten extinction of these critically endangered southern resident orcas. Without dramatic changes to their environment, extinction is already considered the likely future for the southern residents, as they …

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 …

Riparian buffers are strips of trees and shrubs along stream sides. They filter nutrients and chemicals, shade and protect the stream, and provide habitat for birds, insects and fish. Photo courtesy of USDA.

Do financial incentives motivate farmers to conserve land?

Occasionally, this space includes reports and essays from guest writers on the subject of Puget Sound ecosystem recovery. Today’s guest blog is from Mollie Chapman, who received funding from the Puget Sound Institute in 2013 to study how financial incentives influence decisions by farmers to conserve ecologically important land. By Mollie Chapman Would you undertake …