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Image of San Juan Islands from the Salish Sea Model

Findings and reports: February 2023

Salish Sea Model provides insights on circulation and residence times

The amount of time water circulates and “resides” in Puget Sound is of intense interest to regulators and emergency response officials who want to understand how quickly wastewater is flushed out of Puget Sound and into the ocean. A paper in the journal Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science reports that contrary to expectation, flushing of deeper waters may take longer in wintertime in large fjord-like basins such as Hood Canal. A new, higher resolution version of the Salish Sea Model shows that increased amounts of freshwater from rain-swollen rivers result in stronger stratification during that period reducing vertical diffusion and mixing. The paper is co-authored by PSI affiliates Lakshitha Premathilake and Tarang Khangaonkar. View the paper.

Distinguishing climate change impacts from development impacts on summer low flows in Puget Sound streams

A report from the Puget Sound Institute examines potential impacts from human sources on summer stream flows. The study found little impact from impervious cover but heightened concerns over climate change. As climate change worsens, the report’s authors say, it could further amplify natural stream flow fluctuations not currently accounted for in climate change projections. “Uncertainties about future trends in low flows may have been underestimated,” the report reads. Co-authors include Nick Georgiadis and Kevin Bogue of PSI and Curtis DeGasperi of King County. Download the report.

Report looks at impacts of pinnipeds on salmon

PSI Lead Ecosystem Ecologist Tessa Francis was a contributor to a December report from the Washington State Academy of Sciences examining regional pinniped predation on salmonids. The report found evidence of impacts on salmon declines but cautioned that “substantial uncertainty” remains. It also found that some salmon stocks were more vulnerable than others due to “natural and human-made pinch points in salmon migration.” Download the report.

Additional papers co-authored by PSI researchers or affiliates

Bains, A., Dahal, S., Manna, B., Lyte, M., Kolodziej, E. P., Chaplen, F. W., … & Singhal, N. (2022). L-norepinephrine induces ROS formation but alters microbial community composition by altering cellular metabolism. bioRxiv, 2022-06.

Kern, M. A., & Murphy, A. G. (2022). What Do You Expect?: Assessing Whether a Situation is “Ripe” for Collaborative Governance. Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, 15(4).

Kindsvater, H. K., Juan Jorda, M. J., Dulvy, N. K., Horswill, C., Matthiopoulos, J., & Mangel, M. (2022). Fear and foraging in the ecosystem size spectrum generate diversity in fish life histories. bioRxiv, 2022-08.

Magel, C. L., Chan, F., Hessing-Lewis, M., & Hacker, S. D. (2023). Differential responses of eelgrass and macroalgae in Pacific Northwest estuaries following an unprecedented NE Pacific Ocean marine heatwave. Consequences of global change in coastal ecosystems from a multidisciplinary perspective, 16648714, 69.

Magel, C. L., & Francis, T. B. (2022). Evaluating ecosystem-based management alternatives for the Puget Sound, USA social-ecological system using qualitative watershed models. Frontiers in Marine Science, 9.

Mangel, M., & Brown, A. (2022). Population processes in cyber system variability. Plos One, 17(12), e0279100.

McHuron, E. A., Sterling, J. T., & Mangel, M. (2022). The influence of prey availability on behavioral decisions and reproductive success of a central-place forager during lactation. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 111392.

Schwarz, L., McHuron, E., Mangel, M., Gailey, G., & Sychenko, O. (2022). Gray whale habitat use and reproductive success during seismic surveys near their feeding grounds: comparing state-dependent life history models and field data. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 194(Suppl 1), 733.

Tang, T., & Kolodziej, E. P. (2022). Sorption and Desorption of Tire Rubber and Roadway-Derived Organic Contaminants in Soils and a Representative Engineered Geomedium. ACS ES&T Water, 2(12), 2623-2633.

Tian, Z., Peter, K. T., Gipe, A. D., Zhao, H., Hou, F., Wark, D. A., Khangaonkar, T. Kolodziej, E.,& James, C. A. (2022). Rebuttal to Correspondence on “Suspect and Nontarget Screening for Contaminants of Emerging Concern in an Urban Estuary”. Environmental Science & Technology, 56(22), 16531-16532.

PSI in the news

“Car tire dust Is killing salmon every time it rains”

Work by PSI-affiliate Ed Kolodziej is featured in a recent article in Forbes. The article describes new findings related to the chemical 6PPD-quinone first identified by Kolodziej’s team at the Center for Urban Waters. Read more.

“Scientists try to keep up with chemical blizzard entering Puget Sound”

PSI researcher Andy James is Co-PI on two projects mentioned in a recent story from KUOW. James is part of a Puget Sound Partnership-funded study prioritizing some 350,000 chemical compounds related to their potential impact on organisms in the environment. James and Co-PI Ruth Sofield of Western Washington University are focusing on marine species, including southern resident killer whales. Their study will eventually extend to human health impacts. James is also working with Jennifer McIntyre (Washington State University), Suzanne Ball (formerly of Washington State University and now a consultant), and Jim Meador (NOAA retired) on a King County-sponsored study to understand the chemical constituents in wastewater effluent. The group will perform a laboratory exposure study to understand the physiological impacts of wastewater on juvenile Chinook. Read more.