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Photographic portrait of Christoper Dunagan

Puget Sound Institute senior writer Christopher Dunagan discusses the challenges of protecting Puget Sound and all things water-related. As the very first environmental reporter for the Kitsap Sun, he has been a respected voice in the region for more than 25 years. He has been covering science-related stories for the Puget Sound Institute since 2015.

September 30, 2023

" alt="What may be the nation’s largest estuary seems hidden in plain sight for many people">

What may be the nation’s largest estuary seems hidden in plain sight for many people

What is the largest estuary in the United States? This is a question loaded with confusion and open to interpretation, as you will soon see. Before we get to the likely answer — which may surprise you — let me share a few authoritative views on the subject: Chesapeake Bay Foundation: “Chesapeake Bay is the […]

September 25, 2023

" alt="Warm ocean waters work their way into Puget Sound">

Warm ocean waters work their way into Puget Sound

Unusually warm waters in the Pacific Ocean — now pushing up against the Washington coast — are keeping oceanographers on alert for changes that could reverberate through the food web, potentially affecting fish, birds and marine mammals in coastal waters and in Puget Sound. Rising ocean temperatures may be related to recent sightings of warm-water […]

August 4, 2023

" alt="Two new baby orcas with no deaths over the past year could make for a remarkable census">

Two new baby orcas with no deaths over the past year could make for a remarkable census

This year’s census for the Southern Resident killer whales apparently will document two new calves but no deaths for the 12-month period ending July 1. According to my unconfirmed records, this will be the first time in nearly 30 years that no deaths will be reported in the annual census update. Consequently, the overall population […]

July 13, 2023

" alt="Salish Sea Model tracks pollution, currents and climate change">

Salish Sea Model tracks pollution, currents and climate change

This article is the latest in a series about computer models and their uses within the Puget Sound ecosystem. Today, we look at the Salish Sea Model, one of several models in the region helping to predict water circulation, water quality and food-web relationships. Read the full series: Where and how the water moves The […]

June 28, 2023

" alt="Prey and predators create varying life-or-death conditions for salmon, as shown with Atlantis model">

Prey and predators create varying life-or-death conditions for salmon, as shown with Atlantis model

This article is the latest in a series about computer models and their uses within the Puget Sound ecosystem. As scientists uncover more and more information about a particular ecosystem, computer modelers are often eager to put that raw data to good use in complex models tuned to local conditions. One highly acclaimed model, called […]

June 23, 2023

" alt="Southeast Alaska troll fishing restored for this year by court of appeals pending full legal review">

Southeast Alaska troll fishing restored for this year by court of appeals pending full legal review

Fishing in Southeast Alaska by the commercial troll-fishing fleet will not be cancelled this year, as ordered by a Seattle judge, thanks to a last-minute ruling by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Considerations for the economic damage that would be caused by shutting down the Alaskan fishery outweigh the “speculative environmental threats” that […]

June 15, 2023

" alt="Quantitative models, including Ecopath, take food web studies to a higher level of analysis">

Quantitative models, including Ecopath, take food web studies to a higher level of analysis

As part of a project exploring the technical uncertainties surrounding Puget Sound water quality, we are reviewing how computer models are used to advance our understanding of natural systems. This blog post is part of a series focused on different models and their uses within the Puget Sound ecosystem. The project is jointly sponsored by King […]

June 8, 2023

" alt="Health of killer whales examined through Bayesian network modeling and informed predictions">

Health of killer whales examined through Bayesian network modeling and informed predictions

Qualitative network modeling, as shown in the previous post in Our Water Ways, is focused on actions that create either positive or negative results for actors in the model. This modeling approach is useful for considering the possible outcomes triggered by various actions, especially when data are lacking to develop mathematical relationships between the actors. […]

June 1, 2023

" alt="Researchers use a qualitative network model to test ways to boost production at shellfish farms">

Researchers use a qualitative network model to test ways to boost production at shellfish farms

As part of a project exploring the technical uncertainties surrounding Puget Sound water quality, we are reviewing how computer models are used to advance our understanding of natural systems. This blog post is part of a series focused on different models and their uses within the Puget Sound ecosystem. The project is jointly sponsored by King […]

May 25, 2023

" alt="Before supercomputers, a structural model helped scientists predict currents in Puget Sound">

Before supercomputers, a structural model helped scientists predict currents in Puget Sound

As part of a project exploring the technical uncertainties surrounding Puget Sound water quality, we are reviewing how computer models are used to advance our understanding of natural systems. This blog post is part of a series focused on different models and their uses within the Puget Sound ecosystem. The project is jointly sponsored by King […]