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282 posts in Publications

A Tunnel to the Twilight Zone: Blue sharks ride deep-swirling currents to the ocean’s midwater at mealtime

Last year, researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the Applied Physics Lab at the University of Washington (UW) discovered that when white sharks are ready to feast, they ride large, swirling ocean currents known as eddies to fast-track their way to the ocean twilight zone—a layer of the ocean between 200 and 1000 meters deep (656 to 3280 feet) containing the largest fish biomass on Earth. Now, according to a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), scientists are seeing a similar activity with blue sharks, which dive through these natural, spinning tunnels at mealtime. The eddies draw warm water deep into the twilight zone where temperatures are normally considerably colder, allowing blue sharks to forage across areas of the open ocean that are often characterized by low prey abundance in surface waters.

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What motivates people to join — and stick with — citizen science projects?

COASST citizen science volunteers identifying a seabird carcass in Ocean Shores, Washington.

One of the most established hands-on, outdoor citizen science projects is the University of Washington-based Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team, COASST, which trains beachgoers along the West Coast, from California to Alaska, to monitor their local beach for dead birds. With about 4,500 participants in its 21-year history and roughly 800 active participants today, COASST’s long-term success is now the subject of scientific study in its own right. What makes people join citizen science projects, and what motivates people to stick with them over years?

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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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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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Few of the world’s longest rivers still flow uninterrupted into the ocean

Rivers are crucial components of human well-being, contributing water, food, hydroelectric power, and transport for millennia. Yet an estimated 2.8 million dams now divide up rivers world-wide, threatening healthy river ecosystems and reducing biodiversity in stream systems, in addition to impacts on inland fisheries that supply protein to 158 million people worldwide. Now, the first global assessment of free-flowing rivers has just been published in the journal Nature. 

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Greater compliance with regulations is possible with fishery cooperatives

Fishery cooperatives are groups of harvesters that band together to jointly fish a pooled quota. They can be set up in a variety of ways, but generally are governed by agreements among members, as well as agreements with regulators that affect all members of the cooperative. One form this may take is to have the participants be “jointly and severally liable” for staying within the catch quota limits for that cooperative; in other words, the regulator can halt the fishing of all members within a cooperative if the catches for that cooperative exceed quota limits, even if the overage was the fault of just a single member. 

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