Do river otters eat endangered rockfish?

river-otter-with-crab-p.green-710sq

In a sea filled with charismatic mammals like killer whales and Steller sea lions, it’s easy to overlook a smaller critter whose name might make you think it’s not even found near saltwater. However, as shoreline residents know, the Salish Sea is home to thousands of river otters. And with their fearless ways and fearsome canines—as well as their webbed toes and ability to dive at least 60 feet deep - these whiskered members of the weasel family are prodigious predators of marine species. A previous study in British Columbia found that otters fueled their high metabolisms in part by … [Read more...]

August 2014 Update

killer whales by ingrid taylar

In this issue: Learning more about stranded killer whales, marine bird declines featured in the news, thank you for supporting SeaDoc at our auction, Salish Sea book is coming soon, join SeaDoc for a once-in-a-lifetime Salish Sea trip, slideshow on coastal cutthroat trout, SeaDoc presents on wildlife diseases. … [Read more...]

Marine birds in decline: Loss of small fish may be to blame

The Seattle Times | News, sports, weather, events in the Northwest

From white-winged scoters and surf scoters to long-tailed ducks, murres, loons and some seagulls, the number of everyday marine birds here has plummeted dramatically in recent decades. The reasons are often complex, but for many the loss of forage fish like herring might hold a clue. This article was on the front page of the Seattle Times on July 25, 2014. Read the full article. … [Read more...]

New protocol will enhance killer whale knowledge

Press release: July 7, 2014 Killer whale strandings are rare and tragic events, which is why it’s so important that scientists respond quickly and appropriately to collect as much data as possible. According to Dr. Joe Gaydos, Wildlife Veterinarian and Chief Scientists of UC Davis’s SeaDoc Society, “Every killer whale stranding represents an opportunity for researchers to learn more about the species. It’s important that we have a system to capture as much information as possible in each event.” A team of researchers from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, the University of … [Read more...]

July 2014 Update

HarborSealVocalizingOnRock_photo_by_G.E.Davis_

In this issue: Why do harbor seals swim upside down when foraging? Scientists close in on sea star wasting disease. Marine mammal video for kids. Salish Sea Conservation in Focus trip. SeaDoc's newest collaborator is 6 years old. Harbor porpoise stranding update … [Read more...]

Increase in harbor porpoise strandings

The number of harbor porpoise strandings in May of 2014 was higher than usual (but not higher than the number in 2012). Joe Gaydos was quoted in the Journal of the San Juans: In fact, according to Dr. Joe Gaydos of the Orcas Island-based SeaDoc Society, spring is the time of year when harbor porpoise typically migrate en masse from the mouth of Juan de Fuca Strait into the heart of the Salish Sea and strandings are not uncommon at that time. Still, Gaydos, who will perform the early June necropsies, said the spate of strandings warrant examination to find out if an infectious disease … [Read more...]

Tracking Transboundary Trouble

Basking shark copyright Florian Graner. Used with permission.

How do you know if your ecosystem is in trouble? One clue is the number of species that are in decline or endangered. If that number gets bigger over time, you’re probably heading in the wrong direction. Publications We publish our Species of Concern analysis approximately every two years in conjunction with the biennial Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference. Species of Concern 2013 (119) Species of Concern 2011 (113) Species of Concern 2008 (64) Species of Concern 2006 (63) Species of Concern 2004 (63) Species of Concern 2002 (60) In any particular year species might be … [Read more...]

June 2014 Update

SeaDoc interns 2014

In this issue: Video of coastal cutthroat trout, mapping the Pacific flyway, surprise donation from Orcas High School seniors, interns arrive for the summer, plus updates on mapping, killer whale research funding, and how UC Davis studies diseases and the interface between people and wildlife. … [Read more...]

Orcas High School senior class chooses SeaDoc for $2,500 donation

lancaster-ehrmantrout

The senior class at Orcas High School awarded $2,500 to SeaDoc as part of the 2014 grants program of the Orcas Island Community Foundation. Each year a generous donor gives $5,000 to the graduating class at the high school for them to pass on to one or more non-profits; sort of a primer on philanthropy. The students discuss and debate which non-profits they would like to support. We were thrilled when seniors Lindsay Lancaster and Brigid Ehrmantrout named SeaDoc to receive a $2,500 donation to recognize not only our work protecting the marine environment but also our efforts to educate … [Read more...]