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Spring 2019 Awards

Each year, our students, faculty and staff win regional, national, and international awards. Please join us in congratulating the latest group of award winners.
Degree track and faculty advisers in parenthesis
Martini Arostegui (PhD, Quinn) received the International Woman’s Fishing Association Scholarship Trust Award.
Catherine Austin (MS, Quinn), Katherine McElroy (PhD, Hilborn/Quinn), Sean Rohan (PhD, Essington), and Yaamini Venkataraman (PhD, Roberts) jointly received the Outstanding Commitment to Diversity Award from the College of the Environment for designing, creating and leading a new graduate-level seminar “Outreach in Aquatic and Fishery Sciences to Diverse Audiences.”
Bailey Gilbert (BS) obtained the best poster award for her poster “Distribution of Beached Pinnipeds Along the Western Coast of the United States Using Effort-Based Surveys” from the Northwest Student Chapter of the Society for Marine Mammalogy. 

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SAFS Newsletter – Spring / Summer 2019 Director’s Message

André Punt

Dear Friends,
Welcome to the first e-issue of the SAFS newsletter in many years. This e-version allows us to include much more material than our printed issues, which is great because there is always a lot going on at SAFS. The fall-winter issue of the newsletter will continue to be published as both an online PDF and a printed piece for those on our mailing list. 

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Mark Scheuerell Joins the SAFS faculty

Mark Scheuerell

By André Punt
Mark Scheuerell is the newest member of the SAFS faculty. He joins SAFS as the Assistant Unit Leader, Fisheries, in the Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit (WACFWRU), and an Associate Professor. Mark was a PhD student in UW Zoology from 1997-2002 and a post-doctoral fellow in SAFS from 2002-2003. Mark joins SAFS from NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center where he was a Research Fish Biologist working on a variety of problems related to the conservation and management of aquatic resources, particularly along the west coast of North America. 

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“Fishes of the Salish Sea” Book Release

“Art and science collide magnificently in this monumental three-volume celebration of the 260 species of fishes that infuse the inland marine waters of Washington State and British Columbia, with hidden beauty, remarkable diversity and intriguing ways of living. This long-awaited work is a must-have not just for serious scientists and devotees of exquisite natural history artistry, but for any and all who find joy in exploring the wonders of nature.”―Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer in Residence, Founder, Mission Blue

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Training the Next Generation of Women Scientists

In a small room on the sub-level of the Fisheries Teaching and Research Building, families and friends crowd together, not unlike the countless jars of fish that pack the nearby shelves. In the center of the room is a table arranged with colorful posters and a group of girls who are excitedly answering questions. The eager onlookers are here to support their students, daughters, and friends, who are taking part in the Burke Museum’s Girls in Science (GiS) program. This science-fair style celebration is an opportunity for this quarter’s group of high school girls to present their findings after a rigorous six-week course where they identified “new” species.

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Chemical records in teeth confirm elusive Alaska lake seals are one of a kind

Five seals rest on the frozen surface of Iliamna Lake in Alaska.

Hundreds of harbor seals live in Iliamna Lake, the largest body of freshwater in Alaska and one of the most productive systems for sockeye salmon in the Bristol Bay region. These lake seals are a robust yet highly unusual and cryptic posse. Although how the seals first colonized the lake remains a mystery, it is thought that sometime in the distant past, a handful of harbor seals likely migrated from the ocean more than 50 miles (80 kilometers) upriver to the lake, where they eventually grew to a consistent group of about 400. These animals are important for Alaska Native subsistence hunting, and hold a top spot in the lake’s diverse food web.

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Ancestral sockeye salmon started in rivers and then invaded lakes

Sockeye salmon are found in many lakes and rivers in the northern Pacific Ocean, and have radiated outwards into regions formerly under glaciers during the most recent ice age. There are three main ecotypes: river-spawners (that migrate directly from the ocean to spawn in rivers); beach-spawners (that spawn on beaches in lakes) and tributary-spawners (that spawn in river tributaries that feed into lakes). 

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The US imports about 62-65% of its seafood

Global trade is much more prominent in recent years, and related statistics have been used to justify many policy positions. For seafood trade, though, it is quite difficult to piece together how much of the seafood eaten in the US was originally caught in the US. A new study now examines these complexities, finding that about 62-65% of seafood comes from foreign sources, much less than the widely reported 90% that is often cited. 

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