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...]

Stewards of the Deep: Underwater monitoring in The Islands’ Sounder


Colleen Armstrong of The Islands' Sounder wrote about SeaDoc's collaboration with divers from the Reef Environmental Education Foundation ( on the front page of the paper. The story included links to REEF's database where you can see detailed findings, including color images of creatures found, for different locations and areas. … [Read more...]

SeaDoc/REEF subtidal monitoring project 2014


The subtidal area is one of the least known parts of the Salish Sea. It's a fantastically colorful and complex place seen only by SCUBA divers and scientists. This is why we partnered with Reef Environmental Education Foundation ( last year to use trained volunteer divers to keep an eye on what is happening below the water. So how long does it take to see dramatic changes in subtidal areas? Turns out a year is enough. When we first started this subtidal monitoring project in 2013 we anticipated we might have enough data to see changes after 8 or 10 years. But last … [Read more...]

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Tufted puffins: time to make your voice heard


It's been a long time coming, but Washington State is in the final stage of deciding whether or not to list the Tufted puffin as a state endangered species. Tufted puffins used to breed at 43 different nesting colonies in Washington State. Now they are found at only 19, and the state's population is 1/10th of what it was in 1984. Tufted puffins have been candidates for listing in Washington State since 1998. But you can't move from candidate to listed species without a formal scientific status review. Since the Department of Fish and Wildlife didn't have the resources to write the status … [Read more...]

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SeaDoc helps commercial crabbers recover 550 pots in California

recovery lost crabbing gear

The California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project (a self-sustaining project of the SeaDoc Society that operates without any donated funds), got a nice write-up in the Del Norte Triplicate. Kirsten Gilardi, SeaDoc's executive director, and Jen Renzullo, the field manager for the lost gear project, were featured for their innovative work where north coast crab fishermen are actually recovering lost crab pots and turning a profit by selling the pots back to their original owners. Read the full article or get more of the story on the UC Davis website. “The most exciting thing about this … [Read more...]

September 2014 Update

credit b hoglund

In this issue: Rescuing sea lions entangled by packing straps, Federal funding for marine mammal stranding response, eelgrass science, new video explains Washington Tribes and salmon recovery, and thanks to our 2014 interns! … [Read more...]

How do you help a 2,000 pound wild animal that’s entangled?

entangled sea lion

Entangled Steller sea lion: SeaDoc photo[/caption]When a sea lion gets a plastic packing strap stuck around its neck, it’s not a pretty sight. The animal doesn’t die right away. As the seal grows, the strap gets tighter and tighter. Eventually the animal can starve or strangle. For almost 2 years, SeaDoc and collaborators from the San Juan County Marine Mammal Stranding Network, the Whale Museum, the Vancouver Aquarium, and the Seattle Aquarium have been working with NOAA Fisheries to create a plan for responding to entangled sea lions. Darting a 2,000-pound animal that isn’t feeling … [Read more...]

Do river otters eat endangered rockfish?

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...]