Growing up underwater: harbor porpoise muscle development

Harbor porpoise by Florian Graner. Used by permission.

Peer-reviewed publication: Noren, S. R., D. P. Noren, and J. K. Gaydos. 2014. Living in the fast lane: rapid development of the locomotor muscle in immature harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). Journal of Comparative Physiology B. December 2014, Volume 184, Issue 8, pp 1065-1076. This study -- based on harbor porpoise tissue samples collected from strandings, fishery bycatch, or observed killings by killer whales -- looked at muscle development in juvenile harbor porpoises to understand how fast they mature into physically competent adults. This is important because it shows that … [Read more...]

December 2014 Update

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In this issue: SeaDoc helps tie a virus to sea star wasting disease; Holiday giving made easy; Money talks: new project to study economic benefits of no-take marine reserves; Two new Science Advisors join SeaDoc; Kit Rawson on salmon recovery successes; Killer whales in the deep freeze? ; Reminder: Tufted puffin status review comments due December 11; Fire retardant levels in Salish Sea birds … [Read more...]

Billie Swalla and Jim West join Science Advisors

Billie Swalla

Two new scientists have come on board as SeaDoc Science Advisors. Since our inception, this important group has help prioritize and guide our scientific investigations. We’d like to extend a big welcome to Billie Swalla (Director, UW Friday Harbor Labs) and Jim West (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)! Billie Swalla is the Director of the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Laboratories, and joins the Science Advisors to bring the expertise of the Labs to the table. Swalla is an expert in the evolution of chordates (species with a central nervous system on their back sides … [Read more...]

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Economic benefits of SCUBA diving in no-take marine reserves

fish by janna nichols

There’s convincing science that no-take marine reserves help recover rockfish, abalone, and other threatened or endangered species that call these rocky habitats home. But what are the economic costs and benefits of marine reserves? Most of the existing data is about the costs of marine reserves. For example, marine reserves limit fishing, and therefore have a negative effect on the commercial and recreational fishing industry. But very little is known about the economic benefits of no-take marine reserves. A new SeaDoc project will quantify the economic benefit of appropriately … [Read more...]

Gulls switch to trash-diet as fish stocks run low

gull with sea star

Joe Gaydos was quoted in a New Scientist article about the implications of diet changes for gulls. In a recently published paper (find a link to it in the New Scientist article, below), UBC's Louise Blight and collaborators looked at feather samples to understand how gull diets have changed over the past 149 years. The results show that as the birds' diets have changed from fish to more garbage, the result has been population declines and lower fertility in glaucous-winged gulls. Overfishing has meant that one of the gulls' favourite fish species, the highly nutritious eulachon, is now … [Read more...]

November 2014 Update

by jared towers

In this issue: Avoid the rush - order your Salish Sea book now; What's a 50+ year old bird band doing on an Eastsound beach? Sea star wasting disease update; How do we reduce the effects of plastic pollution on wildlife? SeaDoc welcomes two new board members; November marine science lecture: minke whales with Jared Towers; Video: Scientists study killer whale health from the air. … [Read more...]

SeaDoc welcomes two new board members

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This month SeaDoc welcomes two new board members, Ingrid Rasch and Dave Roberts. Ingrid Rasch is a community activist and non-profit volunteer. She currently chairs the board of Earth Economics, a non-profit that focuses on rigorous analysis of the value of natural systems. In her career she was VP of Human Resources for Sonus Pharmaceuticals and Senior VP of Human Resources at the $10+ billion Stop & Shop Supermarket Company. She also led the first human resources department at Microsoft. Ingrid is a board member of the Sustainable Path Foundation, a member of the Washington State Wildlife … [Read more...]

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What’s a 50+ year old bird band doing on an Eastsound beach?

Bird band found on Eastsound beach in 2014

A few weeks back our friend Trey Vore showed up at the SeaDoc office with a metal bird band he'd found on the beach in Eastsound. The band read "Advise Wildlife Service. Write Washington DC USA." And it had a number on it. (Oddly enough, though, no web address...) Joe Gaydos knows just what to do with this kind of thing, and he reported the band on the US Geological Survey website. Turns out the band had been put on a California Gull at some location south of a town called Williams, Montana in 1961. We're not suggesting the gull lived 50 years, but it does seem likely … [Read more...]

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Pre-order The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest

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Exciting news! SeaDoc's new book about the Salish Sea, written by Audrey DeLella Benedict and Joe Gaydos, is now available for pre-order. Head on down to your local independent bookstore and ask them to pre-order you a copy of The Salish Sea: Jewel of the Pacific Northwest, ISBN 978-1570619854. Give the book as a gift If you'd like to give the book as a holiday gift, you can download and print a certificate that lets the recipient know you've bought a book for them. Download here. Or if you'd like to make your own card, you can download a medium (760k) or high-res (6.3MB) image of … [Read more...]

Video: You’ve never seen killer whales like this before

whales grooming

If you love killer whales, take 10 minutes and watch this video podcast from NOAA Fisheries. NOAA and the Vancouver Aquarium teamed up to photograph Northern Resident Killer Whales from an unmanned aerial vehicle (with the proper permits, of course). The footage and the photographs are beautiful, but when you watch the video you'll see how much information scientists are able to gather just by looking at these high-resolution photographs. You'll learn how to identify whales that are starving, doing well, and even ones that are pregnant. If the video doesn't play, check it … [Read more...]